Malware Definition: From the words malicious software, is software designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system without your consent. This is a generic term that describes a computer virus, spyware, trojan horse, worm, rootkit, or adware.
Prevention is always better than a cure, but no SINGLE product will protect you and nothing is perfect. We recommend a multi-layered approach which includes (in order of importance) Windows/Browser Security Patches, Firewall and/or Gateway Security, Anti-virus software, Anti-spyware software. Most modern malware is gotten from the internet, through phishing scam links in email, then through fake or infected websites using exploits in browsers or browser add-ins. Every browser can be compromised, IE, Chrome, Firefox -- it is important to keep your browser secure as well as all the add-in products like flash and java, and threat recognition is important so pay attention and don't visit questionable websites.
So you've got or think you've gotten some form of malware infection?
...you've come to the right place.
These are the basic steps to take right away
- DISCONNECT - If your PC is connected to a network, disconnect it by unplugging the network cord from the back or disable your wireless connection if you are connected wirelessly. This prevents infecting other systems.
- SCAN - Hopefully you have anti-virus and/or spyware protection software installed. If you do, run a full scan of your system immediately with whatever you have. At the very least if will give you a better idea of what kind of infections are present.
- SECOND OPINION - From another computer, download one other popular spyware removal tools to a flash drive or burn to a CD. Make sure nothing else important is on the flash drive (if that is what you use) then take the software to your infected PC and install and run that software. We like Malwarebytes or something portable like Comodo Cleaning Essentials or ClamWin. If you don't have any anti-virus installed, try a free product like AVG free edition or Avast free edition.
- SAFE MODE SCAN - If your system is heavily infected, run another scan from Safe Mode. Most malware removals will require the use of two or more products.
- MAKE NOTES - Keep notes about any infection that is determined, it can prove extremely helpful, and can help save us time and you money.
Many modern malware infections require professional assistance and sometimes a lot of research. An infection may be removed but damage left to system settings or registry. There are additional advanced methods that we use to seek out and manually disable malware hooks so if you have tried several traditional removal tools and do not have a properly operating computer, you need to bring your system in for a professional evaluation and cleanup.
Since modern malware infections have become so sophisticated, we generally recommend completely reloading Windows onto a clean hard drive if we are not confident that a malware-free system can be returned with 1-2 hours of billable effort. Often it is the damage done and not the infection itself that can take hours of work.