QWorks Quick Q&A – Viruses, Trojans, Adware, Spyware

Virus, Trojan, Adware, Spyware. All of these things can be grouped under one common term: malware. And what is malware?

In its simplest terms, malware is any program that does something to your computer that is not good. It can delete files, stop you from running programs while pretending to be the solution for that problem, collect information about your internet surfing habits, collect credit card information; anything the author wants it to do. And it usually does this without your knowledge or permission! Not good.

So how does one remove malware? The real answer is: it depends. It depends on what has infected your system. And is it just one infection or is it more? Malware, once installed, usually calls its buddies to come and play. So a typical infection commonly involves more than one piece of malware. The ONLY sure-fire way to remove all malware is to reformat your drive and reinstall Windows, and your applications and data.

How did you get infected? Most infections occur due to visiting an infected site or opening a malicious email attachment. There is no telling what website is infected or whether or not an email attachment is an infection waiting to happen.

How does one keep from getting infected? Since one cannot know, in advance, what website is infected or what email attachment is harmful, the best bet is a multi-level approach.

1) Stay away from websites that are known to be prone to infection and don’t open email attachments from people you don’t know.

2) Install software that helps keep you from becoming infected.

3) Install software that can clean an infection if it gets through your defenses.

I have come up with a combination of software that addresses each of these steps. It is NOT foolproof, but it sure gives you a head start on prevention and cleaning.

A) Web of Trust for notifying you of known bad sites. (FREE)

B) Microsoft Security Essentials for detecting and preventing an infection. (FREE)

C) Malwarebytes Premium for detecting and preventing an infection, and for cleaning an infection if it does get through. (PAID)

Here are the links for each of these:

Web of Trust: http://www.mywot.com

Microsoft Security Essentials: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security-essentials-download

Malwarebytes Premium: https://malwarebytes.org

Proper installation and setup is essential. Call me and I’ll help.

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