Combined from the words ‘malicious’ and ‘software’, malware is the general term for computer viruses, worms, trojans, keyloggers, spyware, adware and others.
What Is the Purpose of Malware?
The purpose of malware is to intrude on a machine for a variety of reasons. From theft of financial details, to sensitive corporate or personal information, malware is best avoided, for even if it has no malicious purpose at present, it could well have so at some point in the future.
With the growth in online usage over the last decade, there has also been a rapid increase in the number and types of malware that currently roam in the wild. It is highly likely that one form of malware or another is already present on the machine of anyone reading this article.
Of course, not all malware is as aggressive or intrusive as others, though it is generally good practice to have a secure anti-malware solution in place to protect a computer or computer network.
How to Know If a Computer Is Infected with Malware?
There are various signs that would indicate a computer has been infected with malware of any kind.
- Often the machine would be running slower than usual if infection had taken place.
- Especially for adware infection, many pop-ups would begin appearing and also interfering with not only machine performance but also user experience.
- It is common for a machine to crash often should malware be present. Of course this would be detrimental to the user and in such cases they may well need to replace the machine altogether in case the malware was unable to be eradicated.
- Higher volume of network activity, even when the user is not connected to the internet at all, or any other online connections to servers to download or upload any data is present. In such cases, various checks would need to be done to rule out malware infection or any other cause of the irregularity.
- Another and more social way of knowing if a user’s computer has been infected is by them hearing from their network of friends or colleagues telling them that they have received unwanted or suspicious messages from the user that they doubt was genuinely sent by them.
In short, any irregularities that are noticed, from unwanted desktop items to a slowing down of the machine, to unusual error messages, all could indicate something is amiss and needs looking into.
Of course, there are also malware that runs silently in the background in order to avoid detection and removal.
Have an Infected Machine? Here’s How to Clean Up
Here are some steps for an administrator to identify and clean up malware and bot-infected Windows computers.
How to Prevent Malware Infection
It is essential to have a secure anti-malware solution installed on a computer or network.
With an ever-growing number of new malware entering the online cybersphere every day however, it is essential that technical solutions are matched with human knowledge and threat prevention techniques.
After all, it is human awareness of malware tools and methods that will help prevent a threat in the first place, something which is much easier to do than acting after the fact once the damage is already done.
Follow these steps to prevent malware infection.