Malware – Protect Your PC From Security Threat Number One – You

Malware – Protect Your PC From Security Threat Number One – You

Experts this year report malicious software, or malware, can be found lurking on 90 percent of PCs used to surf the internet! That’s epidemic proportions. So, odds are right now, you’re sitting at a PC that is host to a malware infection that is stealthily working in the background, robbing your system’s resources and performance for purposes other than your own… This article covers some do-it-yourself ‘best practices’ PCs users should follow to prevent malicious software infections.

PC disruptions from malware can run the gamut from unnoticeable to slower-than-normal performance, uncontrollable pop-ups or odd PC behavior, up to more severe problems such as disabling security measures, (leaving your PC vulnerable to more malware), unwarranted monitoring of your activity, even theft of personal information. Malware spreads most commonly through opening unsolicited email attachments and by downloads of all types of software programs, documents and multi-media files. Malware ‘packaging’ is more sophisticated than ever when propagated as ‘rogue security software’-anti-virus or anti-malware software that appears to be legitimate but is in fact malware itself. Clicking ‘I accept’ on rogue security software offers is what 100 million PC users have done this year alone, according to computer security experts. Worse, one in ten of us gave personal information to pay for the malicious software download…

Bottom line: Malware is everywhere and You are your PC’s best protection, at a time when ways of spreading malware, grow in sophistication and number. The best protection money can buy can be negated with one ‘bad click’ to download something on blind trust. Before you download, take a step back for a moment and check out the source of the software download. Don’t be sucked into ANY unsolicited pop-up offer, regardless of how good it sounds, before qualifying its safety first. Especially check out any ‘free’ product offerings, particularly those that that sound ‘too-good-to-be true’, by doing a few Google searches on the title to qualify a source and the product. Some experts advise review of online forums to see if people are warning of product scams or questionable companies. Get the scoop on a software title before you download it.

So, how else to reign in ‘enemy number one?’ Although few do it, make a plan now for how you will get good, reliable information, when you need it. Because where malware is concerned, its not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ we’ll get an infection, for most of us. Its all-to-easy to miscalculate and open an e-mailed attachment from a ‘trusted source’-a friend, for example–only to learn later their system had been compromised by a malware infection. As my father always said, “You’ll be fine in life–regardless of how much you know–if you know how to find the answers.” Knowing where to go for PC help you can trust will keep you from spending too much to fix a problem or make matters worse during a panic. Help yourself further, by having all the information regarding your system, applications you run, and support phone numbers and email addresses in one place. Taking the time to do this will save you big time when throttled by events to get hasty help.

Sounds like a tall order? Why not let an expert advise you. Experts gather useful information and share it as a way of promoting their services. Most repairs can be made yourself, when you have good information on how to make them. It is easier than you think. Just register to receive a computer expert’s newsletter and monitor it for the news you can use to protect your PC investment. Listen to an expert you are comfortable with and enact their advice. Online computer experts often promote themselves by giving away great information on best practices they recommend. For example, there are thousands of ‘free’ software tools available online, but not all are compatible or work well. Experts can direct you to those they trust, that are proven to work. Qualify an expert and learn from them-it can be money in the bank in time and repair savings, when trouble arises.

The following action items are important things every PC owner should be doing to reduce their exposure to malicious software:

1. Get a recommendation on proven ‘free’ or for-purchase anti-virus software ‘suites’ (that include a firewall) and run regular scans. Choose a software company that regularly updates their software and install the updates when released for ‘near-real time’ protection.

2. Get a recommendation on a separate, ‘free’ or for-purchase anti-malware software tool and run regular scans. Install updates when released.

3. Keep ‘Windows’ or other operating system software up to date with the latest security updates.

4. Don’t tolerate slower PC performance or odd PC behavior. Malware infections are often the culprit and will cause greater damage over time if left unchecked. If it has been a couple weeks since your last malware scan, update the software by first and then reboot your PC in ‘Safe Mode’ to thoroughly scan for infections.

5. Don’t open unsolicited emails or email attachments without qualifying to your satisfaction, the safety of the source.

6. Don’t download software until you are certain the source is reputable and safe. Take down the URL of the manufacturer and check their website. Do Google searches on the software title. Review online forums talking about experiences with the product. A little legwork upfront to confirm the product’s integrity and the safety of the download source, will save you big, in frustration, time and money down-the-line.

7. To be sure you are doing a thorough scan for malware infections, reboot your PC in ‘Safe Mode’ (on power up, repeatedly hit the F8 function key) so the OS prevents other applications from running at start up. This will allow the anti-malware software tool to more thoroughly analyze the PC’s registry files and find deeply embedded malware rootkits that function to conceal the malicious software.

I’m not an expert–what I’ve shared here, I learned from Kim Burney’s “DIY Computer Maintenance Guide”, a super easy-to-follow reference and how-to guide to free software tools that keep your PC running smooth and fast. Click the link below to access a free excerpt covering her top recommendation for a proven and free anti-malware software tool you can use to clean off malware from your PC.

Get instructions on a proven way to clean off malware from your PC by downloading a free excerpt from the “DIY Computer Maintenance Guide”, by computer expert and author Kim Burney by clicking here:

Related Anti Malware Programs Articles

Why Do Viruses Slow Down Computers?

Why Do Viruses Slow Down Computers?
Most people have virus protection installed on their computers. This is a great thing! Many of the virus protection programs around today protect computers against spyware and adware and all other known types of malware as well as viruses. This, too, is a great thing!

The word malware is the quick substitute word for the term “malicious software.” It refers to any type of virus or spyware that can get into your computer. Some years ago, the only kind of malware we had to deal with were computer viruses. The job of a computer virus was always to annoy computer operators to one extent or another.

A Nuisance and a Threat

Some viruses were simply written as jokes. A computer geek may actually write such a script to entertain himself. On the other hand, the purpose of a computer virus may be to kill your computer forever! Even worse the goal of a virus might be to shut down a large network of computers. This would usually be referred to as cyber-terrorism.

Spyware are closely aligned with viruses. The subtle difference is a person who writes a virus is out to do your computer harm. A person who writes spyware is usually out to steal your passwords, banking account numbers and the like. If he does harm to your computer’s operating system while doing so; oh well.

Stealing Your Power

Viruses and spyware slow down computers because they use the computer’s resources to do whatever it is they are doing. They are computer programs. Like all computer programs, some of them run on XP, some on Windows Vista, etc.

Unlike normal programs, they don’t have an icon on your desktop so you can start it up if you chose to. Viruses run on their own terms. You don’t have an option to shut them down either. Many viruses replicate themselves. So, if one computer virus program steals some of your resources, 50 of them, which could be one virus that has replicated itself 50 times, might put you out of business altogether.

Ubiquitous Spyware

I’ve seen spyware make computers unusable as well. Spyware by itself doesn’t replicate itself. However, it is not unheard of to find a spyware-unprotected PC with more than 1,000 spyware infections. With this much spyware present on a hard drive, the operating system will have all it can do to try to accommodate them. In a situation like this, you probably wouldn’t be able to start any of you programs, like Word or IE, for instance.

The bottom line is viruses and spyware have the capability of keeping your operating system and microprocessor busy to the point you will not get any response from your computer or at best, a very slow response. So, it is very important to keep your computer free of these things. I recommend using a good virus protection program that cleans out all types of spyware as well.

It is also very wise to have a registry cleaner on hand as well. From what I’ve seen, registry corruption has slowed down more computers than anything else. There is nothing malicious about it. It simply occurs from normal use and tends to make computers very sluggish.

The author, Ed Lathrop is a comp TIA A+/Network+ certified computer technician. His site, Registry Repair Review, rates the latest registry programs and tells which registry cleaners work and which ones might actually be dangerous to your computer. Also, visit Computer So Slow.

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