what is malware
23 October 2013
What is malware and how to deal with it?
Malware is software which has been specifically designed to infiltrate a computer systems with the intent of causing damage and is loaded without the owners knowledge or consent. This is also referred to as malicious software.
Malware can cause a lot of damage and it is estimated that nine out of ten personal computers connected to the internet are infected with this spyware. In almost 88% of scans done, some form of unwanted programs like Trojan, cookie or adware were found. The figures are astounding and up to 10 million American users have their personal information stolen or misused in some way or another each year which costs billions of dollars.
Corporate computers are not excluded and the percentage is just as high in the business environment.
Statistics have revealed that a potential 40 million credit card numbers can be accessed by this malicious software which infiltrates even confidential information.
Even the most careful of browsers can pick up malware through normal internet activities and by visiting media supported websites the chances of picking up a tracking cookie is very real. Sharing music, files and photos are also putting some users at risk and installing software applications without reading all the licence agreements is one of the most common ways to invite malware into your computer.
The first step to making sure you are safe from malware is to use a scan program specifically designed for this purpose. Running this scan on your computer will detect any malware. However, the removal of this malware is a little more difficult and even the most experienced computer user. All users are advised to use quality and recognised anti-malware software.
Once this is done the maintenance of your computer is very important and the choice of a malware protection solution is important. A complete anti-malware software package should include anti-spyware software and safeguarding against viruses as well. All this should be fortified with a firewall for maximum prevention of re-infections.
Look for malware protection that provides frequent upgrade for different versions which keep track of the latest threats. Award winning software is your best bet and check if it has won awards from publications on the internet and computer industry. Another plus would be software which has a team of researchers or has information on their site about the latest information on software. Do not install software which is not backed by a company with a very solid and respected reputation.
There are some healthy habits to follow which can ensure you stay free of malware infection. Say no to free software is a good start and increasing your browser security settings will do no harm either. Avoid questionable websites and be suspicious of e-mail you don’t recognise or attachments to the mail. If you have to use a computer with others, proceed with caution as entering personal or confidential and banking details is probably not a great move in this environment.
Peer to peer sharing services can also put you at risk.
You can also check the recommendations of computer magazines for comparisons and hints and tips for the most effective anti-malware you can install.
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