Don’t Get Weighed Down By Malware

Posted on Aug 24 2017 - 9:54am by Editorial Staff

Even though malware and viruses have been around for years, it seems like they are becoming a bigger problem everyday. Your whole life is on your devices — your work, banking, shopping, pictures, social connections — and you need to keep your information safe. Protect your identity and your electronics with the following signs of malware and prevention tips:

What is Malware?

Malware is a general term for any type of malicious software. The malicious intent could be to steal your personal information, commit fraud or gain access to your electronic device without your permission. Viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, browser hijackers and worms are all types of malware.

So how does malware get on your computer, tablet or smartphone? Usually by clicking on a link or downloading a piece of software. Malware also can make its way onto your device through security vulnerabilities in your operating system.

What Are the Signs?

If you think you have malware on your computer, keep an eye out for some tell-tale signs. Pop-ups ads is one of the most obvious signs of malware. We’re not talking about those annoying pop-ups that ask you to subscribe to almost every site you visit, but pop-ups that have nothing to do with what you’re browsing on the internet — usually showing adult content.

Another sign of malware is changes on your computer or browser settings. For example, you may see a toolbar you didn’t download or your homepage might be different. If you can’t remove or change these settings back, chances are it’s malware.

Malware also can affect the speed and performance of your device. If it seems sluggish all of a sudden or is crashing, that’s a bad sign. Keep in mind that computers and smartphones slow down as they age, especially if you’re running something power-intensive; however, if your computer struggles to perform routine tasks, then you may have malware slowing things down.

How Can You Prevent It?

Using an electronic device comes with risks because you can’t have a 100 percent safety guarantee. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proactive in trying to prevent it from affecting your devices. You should use a well-known anti-virus and anti-malware software to detect known threats. You also can use mobile processors that include hardware-based security solutions. For example, Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors come with the Qualcomm Haven security suite. The combination of hardware and software solutions to detect zero-hour threats ensures that only you can access information on your device.

Some other easy steps include keeping your operating system, browser and apps up to date. The recent WannaCry hack took advantage of a security hole in an old Windows operating system, reminding the world that updates happen for a reason. And, of course, you shouldn’t click on any suspicious links or give out personal information if you’re not completely sure you can trust the source.

What Should You Do if You Already Have Malware?

If you already have malware on your computer, there are several steps you should follow. Start by disconnecting your computer from the internet and booting it up in Safe Mode. This helps prevent the malware from spreading or starting up with Windows operating system. Delete any temporary files and download a different malware scanner than you are currently using (you may need to connect to the internet to download the scanner and then disconnect again to run the scan). You may want to use more than one malware scanner if you think your device is still infected; options include Norton and McAfee.

To check if your computer is clean of threats, run a real-time check with your current antivirus software. You also should check your operating system and browser settings to make sure they look like they’re back to normal. For example, the homepage in your browser should be a site you know.

While you can’t protect your devices from everything, you can help prevent a majority of malware threats with a few simple tricks. Be smart when you’re surfing the web, and pay attention to the signs your computer gives you. It could make all the difference.

About the Author
Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at I2Mag is a team of subject experts led by Karan Chopra.