What is Malware
Malware and spyware are certainly real threats to anyone using an Internet-connected computer. it is an program designed for the purpose of installing a computer without the user’s knowledge of infection with the intention of damaging the system, stealing information, or annoying the user. Spyware is a type of it that appears to be intended to steal personal information from a user. Computer users need to take action when it comes to keeping their systems clean during infections while surfing the Internet. The combination of keeping the latest patch levels in both Windows updates and the signature update of viruses along with monitoring when it comes to the types of sites the user visits and makes available will greatly reduce the chances of infection.
Malware can be a major threat to Internet users. Malware software manifests itself in many ways and in many cases damages the computer to the point where the user has to reload the application. Results can be:
o Corrupted files
o Stolen personal information including credit card numbers, bank accounts, etc.
o User emerging boredom
o Software that can be downloaded or installed in abnormal ways
o Transmission of infections to other users
How can an Internet user protect him or her? Preventing malware infection on a computer requires a variety of methods.
1. The user should keep his or her computer updated with the latest and greatest updates from Microsoft and their virus scanner manufacturer. Malware is often labeled for malicious use of Windows that has not been advertised on a hosted computer or compromises a virus scanning package with expired signatures installed. Keep a check on your Windows updates. The second Tuesday of the month, the Microsoft website on Tuesday. They are releasing new spots and security updates on this day with Windows updates. Many computer users when they first get a computer will turn off troublesome notifications in the task bar in the Windows Security Center telling them that their scanning or windows update settings are not at the same level. However, many users forget to keep a check on patch levels and signature levels without reminders from their system. If you change settings in the Windows Security Center, be sure to actively check your system status and install a virus scan.
2. Browsers play a major role in your online safety when it comes to malware and other malicious programs. Microsoft has come a long way with versions 5.5 and 6. of Internet Explorer which browsers were full of security holes. Items are greatly improved with versions 7 and 8. Mozilla Firefox has also had to find a way with some security issues, however, it has all been considered a much safer browser than Internet Explorer. Be especially sure if you are still using Windows XP to test your browser version. Windows Vista and Windows 7 come pre-loaded with versions 7 and 8 so you won’t have to worry about older versions being installed out of the box.
3. Install and maintain a reputable antivirus that may seek and protect from malware infection. Most people have heard of QuickHeal, McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky, etc. If your computer is pre-loaded with some of the above, make sure you have a current subscription and your signatures are properly updated. If you do not want to pay for a subscription for virus scanning software, there are many free virus scanning available. AVG and Avast are a few free scanners that do not charge for home use.
4. Launch a true malware removal program at least once a week to make sure you are not infected with anything that your virus scan might have missed. The main software package for this purpose is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software. This program even in its free form can scan and remove infections
5. Keep a check on your browsing habits. Many software sites have a code that tricks you into installing software programs that appear to be legitimate malware. Never install software that you are instructed to install from an unknown website even if it appears to be legitimate. Malware authors are progressively improving and improving their software design so that it is incredibly difficult to distinguish from official software packages. They can even be written like a malware program! Many users have installed malware because they are urged to have their system infected with malware and need to click to install “anti-malware” software that will clean their system. Don’t fall for this strategy.
6. Keep a check on the processes running on your computer and the software that starts with Windows boot. The Microsoft SysInternals website is a great tool for Windows tools that help keep your system clean of malware. The three most popular programs available are Process Explorer, Autoruns, and Process Monitor. These programs are perfect for looking at the “under the hood” function on Windows and can verify file signing processes which is very helpful in determining whether a seemingly legitimate process is malware.
The fight against malware continues to rage with Internet users. Malware is a serious threat to our security and one should do everything in his power to ensure that computers connected to the Internet are not infected with malicious code. Having the right tools is important to keep the system clean. Also, prudence and caution at all times while browsing goes a long way in preventing malware infection. It is much easier to keep malware away from your system than to remove it once it is in place.