What is malware?
- Malware (sometimes called spyware) refers to hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs.
- It can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software.
- If enough malware is present on your machine, you may have trouble accessing the internet.
- We have never had a computer brought to the helpdesk for service that did not have at least a few pieces of spyware.
- There are products available, many of which are free, which will help control malware on your machine.
We recommend the following free programs:
- Malwarebytes – Our favorite tool at the Help Desk. The free version is adequate for most people. Learn More About Malwarebytes
- Spybot – This program requires interaction with you to clean the machine, but the problems it generally finds is well worth the effort. Learn More About Spybot
Note: We generally use a combination of these and other programs at the Help Desk to diagnose and remove malware. Each one is effective in discovering malware the others do not. There are many other programs which remove malware, but we have found these to be the most effective (and simplest to use) free options.
Tips to Avoid Malware
- Avoiding spyware takes some discipline and practice.
- When downloading and installing programs (especially free programs) you must read each of the installation screens carefully. Read each screen as it is presented and uncheck anything you do not specifically want installed during the installation process.
- Additionally, you should only download programs from reputable sites.
- Be careful when clicking links on facebook and other websites.
- Be careful when clicking links or opening attachments in email.