How do I protect my computer from malware?Share & Print
Malware is malicious software that gets installed on your
computer. Malware programs:
- Gather information about your web browsing habits and pass the information on to advertisers.
- Cause severe damage to your system, such as pop-up advertisements, viruses or worms that compromise your computer system.
- Steal sensitive or personal information, including credit card numbers and banking information.
Adware is financially supported software (that is, paid ads). These programs
display advertising banners while the program is running. They commonly
contain code that tracks a user's personal information and passes it along to
third parties without the user's consent or knowledge.
This type of software secretly gathers information about a person or an
organization and then passes information on to interested groups. The type of
information that can be gathered is browsing history, system information about
your computer (including your IP address) and saved documents.
This type of program modifies or alters your browser settings. They can:
- Change your homepage.
- Install search bars.
- Create shortcuts on your desktop.
- Cause your computer to repeatedly display pop-up ads or new browser sessions.
Again, the basic two purposes of browser hijacking software are to collect
your browsing information which is then sent to a database or to generate
revenue by using your computer for nefarious purposes.
How to protect your computer from malware
In most cases, you can prevent malware from affecting your computer by making
- Keep your operating system updated with the latest available security patches.
- Install antivirus software and keep it updated.
- Are cautious of what files or software you download.
- Are cautious of what plug-ins you install.
- Install and run Spybot Search & Destroy (S&D) or Malwayebytes Anti-Malware FREE on Windows computers and keep it updated.
- Disable unnecessary plugins such as Java.
How to know if you have malware
You can quickly check to see if there is any malware installed on your
computer by using Webroot Spy Audit for your Windows computer. It is a free
web-based scanner; you can also download it and run it from your computer.
After Spy Audit has finished scanning your computer, a list is displayed of
what it has found, but nothing will be removed.