Today, the Internet is flooded with a multitude of malicious and rogue software. Creators of these bogus programs are Cyber Criminals who generally develop them to receive financial benefits by tricking unsuspecting PC users into, for example, buying fake antivirus software or coercing users into paying fines (ransoms) for unlocking their PCs. When choosing anti-spyware and anti-virus software, be sure to download only established products from reputable companies. Be aware that more than 640,000 websites and approximately 5.8 million pages are infected with malware (and these numbers are growing daily). You can check out the statistics of infected websites in more detail at the Google Online Security Blog. PC users should realise that surfing questionable websites greatly increases the chance of their computers becoming infected with spyware, malware, and viruses. Users should be especially careful when surfing websites containing any of the following:
- Adult content
- Software crack, key-gen, etc.
- P2P sites
- Warez sites
If you land on a questionable website, do not click on pop-ups, banners, or other windows that appear on your screen. If you notice these pop-ups, leave the site immediately. If a pop-up window appears on your screen, the best way to close it is by using an ALT+F4 combination or by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL (and terminate your Internet browser process). To prevent malware from infiltrating your PC, ensure you have a legitimate anti-virus program installed with active real time defense features. Today, most antivirus software incorporates web shields that prevent malware and viruses from infiltrating your system.
Another common infection source is email messages, so ensure you follow these rules:
- Do not open email attachments from unknown or questionable senders
- Always scan attachments for security infections before downloading them
- Do not click links within questionable emails
How to know if your computer is infected with spyware or malware?
- Diminished computer performance
- Your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, Opera, etc.) home page has changed without your consent
- Frequent system and Internet browser crashes
- Antivirus or anti-spyware programs are blocked
- Unwanted pop-up windows appear when you surf the Internet
- New Toolbars appear within your Internet browser without your consent
These are the main indicators of an infected system, and if you encounter any, ensure that you scan your computer for spyware and malware infections. Choose a program from our Top spyware removers section and run a full system scan.
How to protect your computer from various security infections?
Most common types of computer infections:
Security infections are usually propagated by rogue software that exploits security vulnerabilities in users' computers. Therefore, keeping your operating system and installed software up-to-date ensures your computer is more resistant to various exploits, Trojans, and viruses. Frequent updates of Flash, Java, Internet browsers, and operating systems is vital, since using a computer with outdated software greatly increases the chances of the system becoming infected with high-risk malware and spyware.
Update your operating system:
Update your Internet browsers:
Check your computer for possible security threats. Download the Windows Malicious Software Removal tool - a free tool that works with Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2000. Remember, if you want your computer to be safe from malware, you should also use advanced antivirus and anti-spyware software other than the Windows Malicious Software Removal tool.
Free protection for your computer
If you wish your computer to remain free from various security threats, we highly recommend choosing software from our 'Top Anti-Spyware' and 'Top Antivirus' sections. If you are on a budget and looking for a free solution, you may find several software packages already installed on your computer (antivirus and anti-spyware). We recommend downloading AVG Anti-virus Free Edition, which you can find here: AVG Antivirus Free Edition. With 110 million users worldwide, it is popular, efficient, and of course with the advantage that it is free of charge. If you prefer not to install AVG Antivirus Free Edition, other free antivirus candidates are: avast! Free Antivirus, Avira AntiVir free edition, BitDefender Free Edition.
Be sure you have only one anti-virus software program installed on your computer, since having two different programs may cause conflicts and problems.
After installing and updating one of the free anti-virus software packages, you are also advised to download secondary defense software for your computer to be completely safe. We recommend a free version of Malwarebytes'Anti-Malware and Spybot-Search&Destroy.
If you wish, you can download and install both of these packages. After scanning your computer with anti-virus software (run a full scan of your computer), install Spybot-Search&Destroy, update it, and scan your computer. Finally, run Malwarebytes'Anti-Malware, update it, and scan your computer. After this cycle, your system should be clean of viruses, malware, and spyware, etc.
What should you do if you cannot run any security programs? (malware is blocking execution of security software)
Before scanning your computer enter Safe mode with networking:
1. Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer starting process press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.
2. Download legitimate antivirus and antispyware software and run a full system scan.
Manual security threats removal
These instructions are useful if you wish to remove some security threats manually. Be aware that the majority of malicious programs modify operating system registry entries, add unwanted processes, and create .dll files, etc.
What should you do if automatic malware removal tools fail to detect and eliminate a security infection?
If you still have problems with your computer, you can do the following:
- Send your HijackThis logs to our forum section, and our staff will try to help you
Download HijackThis. (Trend Micro HijackThis is a free utility that generates an in-depth report of registry and file settings from your computer)
Install HijackThis and run it. Click 'Do a system scan and save a log file'. Then post the log to our forum.
Please note, that HijackThis does not differentiate between good and bad settings. Thus, if you remove everything that this utility lists, you are bound to have trouble later! Do not make any changes to your computer's settings unless you are an expert computer user. Ask our users and forum administrators for information in our forum