Tech Tip-Malware Removal 101
Removal of malicious content and proactive computer security
Malware, commonly referred to as Computer Viruses or Spyware, cannot be ignored. It is inevitable that one way or another you will have to confront the seedy underside of the technology world. Unfortunately there is new malware popping up all the time, and in record numbers.
Malware can lead to loss of data, loss of program functionality, inability to connect to the internet, destroyed hardware or the worst one of all…identity theft. You will want to do everything you can to prevent this from happening but it takes diligence and awareness to ensure your computer’s ability to do it’s job as well as protect your identity.
At TechsRUs one of the most common calls we receive is for a computer that is inoperable due to malware of some sort. While most times the damage is reversible it can still cost you in loss productivity, loss of data and the cost of repairs. The one thing that is not easily reversible is identity theft. So what’s a computer user to do?
Oh yeah, before I forget…Malware is not limited to Windows computers. Macs are susceptible as are smart phones & tablets. You will want to practice that same diligence on all of your internet connected devices.
- Internet Connection
- Anti-Malware Software
- Active subscription to Anti-Malware Software
WHAT TO DO
KEEP YOUR SUBSCRIPTION CURRENT
First things first you will need to make sure you have a current subscription. That means that you are paying a vendor, such as AVG, to use their software. While AVG, and other vendors, offer a free anti-virus program you will want to have what is commonly referred to as an internet suite or enterprise protection (home vs. business).
This software package will typically include Anti-Virus, Content Filtering, Identity Protection, and Firewall as well as some other utilities. I don’t know about you but that sounds like protection that you can’t afford to not have.
How to verify that your subscription is current
- Click on your Anti-Malware Program on your computer.
- Look for an option that says something along the lines of Subscription or Account
- If the software requires a renewal then you will need to do so in order to remain protected. Otherwise I strongly recommend that you remove the software (and install another computer security suite) as it may create more problems then it will resolve. If the subscription is current then you can proceed.
Important: If your computer is already infected with some type of malicious content, it is probably too late to install an anti-malware program. You should seek the help of a professional at this point in order to prevent further damage or loss. If you are in New Haven County..give us a shout.
The evil-doers of the world are working around the clock to wreak havoc on your computer so it is critical that you keep your protection up to date. Having Anti-Malware software on your computer that is not up to date is kind of like driving a car that has not had an oil change in 10,000 miles….you’re just asking for trouble.
Checking for updates with most programs is pretty easy. Here is a basic overview:
- Open the Anti-Malware program and look for an update option.
- Select the update option and let it run. You may receive a prompt to accept or allow.
- You will want to also select the auto-update option if you have not already done so.
RUNNING A SCAN
Your Anti-Malware should actively prevent malicious content from attacking your computer. If the software detects a threat it should alert you to the threat and remove it for you. That does not mean you should rest on your laurels and assume a scan is not needed. Most Anti-Malware programs will allow you to schedule computer scans. This allows you to proactively check your computer for viruses, spyware and other types of malware at a time when it is convenient for you.
I recommend running a scan once a week. Some service providers suggest running it more often but keep in mind that doing so means you are running your computers hardware more often. Having your Anti-Malware software check for a computer infection everyday is overkill and will shorten the life of your computer hardware.
To Manually run a scan do the following:
- Open your security software
- Click on Scan or similar option
- You will likely have options for a quick scan or full scan (or similar)
- Quick Scan only scans files and folders typically attacked by malware
- Full Scan targets the entire computer. This is recommended as malware continues to evolve and the developers of malware become more sophisticated. Once a computer has been attacked by malware, it can spread to many different locations in the computer.
- Once the scan is complete check the results. If no malware was found then you can simply exit the program. If malware was found continue.
- If malware was found you will now be presented with options such as quarantine (moves files to safe location on computer), delete (removes them from computer) or ignore (if you feel that a file was identified as malware in error). I would recommend deletion in most cases.
- Once this process is complete, simply close the window.
- As a side note, if the active scanner is not on, you will want to enable it. If you are using an email program such as Outlook, you will also want to enable email scanning.
Call or Email TechsRUs and we will run right over to help you out. We are your Malware Removal and Computer Security Experts. Call us at 860.57.PCMAC or fill in the form below.