Protect Yourself

With everyone from children to pensioners having access to the internet in their home, hackers are able to cast a wider net to spread their homemade code.

It’s often hard to distinguish what could be potential malware as it could be disguised as an innocent link on a trusted website. It just goes to show how far cyber criminals have come in their evil ways, far enough that the average user may not even have a clue that their computer is infected.

Malicious software, or malware as it's formally known, is where it’s at for hackers trying to spread their viruses to other computers.

Malware includes the viruses we're all too aware of, as well as adware (advertising-supported software which automatically renders advertisements, often in the form of a pop-up) to viruses, Trojan horses, (malicious programs that masquerade as a legitimate file or program and steal information, or harm their host computer systems), and spyware (a type of software that collects information about users without their knowledge and which can be difficult to detect).

Just having an anti-virus scanner on your computer really doesn’t mean that much anymore. For PCs that run Microsoft Security essentials, it already does the job of what something like a Norton’s anti-virus would do. The malware that’s potentially running in the background of your computer is usually missed by these anti-virus programs. .

If you do have an infected computer, take heart: there is a way to gain back control.

The most surefire way to get rid of any malware is to reformat your computer. This wipes the hard drive clean and starts you off again, as though your computer were brand new. While reformatting is a good thing to do every once in a while for performance's sake, for the average user it can be a perilous task. Before you reformat, you must make sure you have on hand the Operating System disk, a drive to back up all your personal files, and drivers to make sure accessories such as your printer will still work once you are back up and running.

If you were confused by that last paragraph — have no worries. There are other ways to save your PC.

There are many highly recommended programs to scan for malware and protect your computer. These programs scans your hard drives and can detect and remove malicious programs from your computer. These programs also provides real-time protection while surfing the web and can block access to connections it detects as a potential threat.

Once your computer is free from any malicious software there is something you can do to protect yourself in the future. Within the control panel on your computer where you access user account privileges, it’s a good idea to create a general administrator account and separate accounts for you and any other users. This would cut off certain features on the computer that malware would need in order to install itself.

You could also keep your computer disconnected from the internet to avoid the hazards of malware but that’s unlikely to happen.

Malware disguises itself so well it can affect anyone, including some individuals who write tech articles in their free time…. With that I highly recommend getting some sort of program to keep both your computer and private information safe.