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What is Malware and How Do I Know if I My Computer is Infected?

Malware has become the name for any type of malicious software such as spywareadware, or viruses that harms your computer’s performance or security. Most malware infections stem from internet activity which include downloading files or even just browsing internet sites. Most measures for protecting against malware focus on ways to make Internet browsing more secure. Various symptoms can be associated with malware, so any one (or a combination) of the following symptoms could be good indicators of malware infection.

  • Browser Redirects, Popups, Homepage Changes: The browser may suddenly redirect to an unknown website, or a previously set homepage may change without warning or input.
  • Slow Computer Response: The computer may seem to “lock up” or run slow during regular use. It is also not uncommon to experience delays in the operating system loading to the desktop.
  • Processor Utilization at 100% in Task Manager: The processor seems to be working overtime and/or slowly. To check the processor utilization or the Kernel Memory status, press the CTRL ALT DEL keys at the same time. Then click the Performance tab. Processor utilization is indicated by the CPU Usage gauge.
  • Virtual Memory Low Message: This message will keep appearing no matter what changes are made to resolve the issue.

For more information about the systems and indicators of an infected system, refer to the article below. Although this refers to Dell computers all of the information can be applied to any type of computer.

For detailed information on malware, refer to the Wikipedia entry on malware:

 

Your computer is probably the single most important piece of equipment in your business or home. When it’s not working properly, you get frustrated. If you’re ignoring your computer’s maintenance and upkeep, you could find yourself in trouble someday.

The good news is, maintaining your computer’s health doesn’t have to involve much time or many resources. Here are seven things to consider that will help you take better care of your computer:

1. Think before you install. So many times I’m told that someone’s computer isn’t working properly only to discover they’ve downloaded several programs from the internet or from a CD of a friend. Installing software on your computer will take up space on your hard drive, which will eventually slow your computer down. These random programs could also be an open door for viruses and cause other programs to crash. So install as few programs as possible on your computer. If you can, use a second computer to “play with” and test programs you’re thinking of using company-wide.

 2. Install the right software. Ensuring your computer is protected from digital vandals is critical if you want to keep information safe. It’s therefore important that you install both an antivirus program and a firewall software program. These two critical pieces of software, which you should update on a regular basis, will serve as a wall of protection for your computer.
3. Update your operating system. Microsoft Windows is the software you’re most likely using to power your computer programs and control how your computer operates. It’s critical that you update Microsoft Windows on a regular basis by going to the “Windows Update” website http://www.windowsupdate.comto automatically update your operating system.

4. Dump what you don’t need. Every few months you should regularly inventory your computer to find and delete the programs you don’t really need. These unused or unnecessary programs take up valuable hard drive space, and if you’re not using them, you should remove them from your computer via the “Add/Remove” programs option in your control panel.

5. Defragment your hard drive. Your hard drive is one of the hardest-working parts of your computer-you’re using it all the time, every day (whether you realize it or not) to access the programs you use and store the files you create. But the hard drive doesn’t save the files in any particular order; instead, it uses the first empty space it encounters (space that’s created when you delete files). So the pieces of data become scattered around the hard drive, making it slower for you to access the data stored there. That’s why it’s critical to defrag your hard drive on a regular basis to keep things running as quickly as possible. Do it monthly if you’re a “light” computer user and weekly if you’re a power user.

6. Keep things clean. I’ve seen offices where people have paper and stickies all over their computers, covering up the air vents. To help ensure your computer runs smoothly, don’t cover the air vents-you need to keep the internal components as cool as possible. You should also vacuum your computer every few months to clean out the dust that accumulates.

Here is a list of software for protection from viruses, hackers, malware & cyber attacks for all devices & systems, including Windows 10, 7 & Mac.

  1. McAfee

Complete protection

from ransomware

at work and home

  1. Norton

Safeguards your

identity and all

online transactions

  1. Eset

Blocks malware

that compromises

online security

  1. Trend Micro

Blocks email scams

and secures

social media use

  1. Bitdefender

Effective anti-theft

tools and file

shredder included