Hi! Today we’re going to talk to you about malicious software, also known as malware, and how you can protect your computer from infection.
How you get malware
First let’s talk about how you get malware. Malware is often installed on your computer without your knowledge when you visit certain websites. Sometimes these are good sites that have been compromised by malware creators; at other times they are simply bad sites built to distribute malicious software. Malware may also be installed when you download a file that appears to be legitimate but is actually doing things that you didn’t want or expect it to do.
Malware has been known to do things like delete data on your computer, steal personal information such as credit card numbers and passwords, send spam email, or even attack other networks and computers.
One of the most common symptoms of malware that our users report is being taken to an unexpected site after clicking on a search result. These sites are often spammy. But malware can also cause pop-ups, unwanted toolbars and other strange behavior.
To avoid malware from infecting your computer in the first place, it’s a good idea to follow a few general guidelines:
1Upgrade OS & software. Upgrade your Operating System and all of your software to the latest versions; check for new versions regularly and, if possible, turn on automatic updates.
2Be careful with links & files. Be careful not to click on links that you don’t know the destination of, or download files from a source that you don’t trust.
3Be careful with email attachments & links. Similarly, before you download email attachments or click links in an email, make sure you trust the sender.
4Run updated anti-virus software. And finally, make sure that you are running up-to-date anti-virus software.
If you think you’ve already got malware you can usually also use anti-virus software to detect and remove it. There are a number of programs that can remove the most common malware, although you may need to try more than one to catch every instance on your computer. And again, remember to keep all of your anti-virus software up to date.
If you do find a site that installs unwanted programs on your computer or redirects you somewhere that you did not intend to go, please let us know.
Thanks, and safe browsing!