What is Malware and how to remove it

KB271 Last reviewed 13 May 2016
What is Malware and how to remove it

Introduction

This article contains an explanation of what Malware is and what steps may be taken to remove it from your computer and devices.

What is Malware?

Malware is any software that is designed to perform any unwanted actions on your behalf. Malware may be used to gather personal information from your computer, attack your data - aka Computer Viruses - or to take over your computer for use in wider malicious activities like Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks

You may get malware from:

  • Visiting compromised websites
  • Installing browser addons
  • Installing software from untrustworthy sources.

Protecting Against Malware

There are some simple steps to guard against malware:

  • Ensure the latest security updates are installed on your computer and other devices
  • Protect your computers and devices with security software (AntiVirus and AntiMalware) that is regularly updated
  • Only ever install software from trusted sources
  • Never open attachments from unknown senders
  • Always use the latest versions of your web browser software.

Removing Malware

If you believe you have malware on your computer:

  1. Scan your computer. Even if you are running current anti-virus software, it is a good idea to get a second opinion using a free scanner as no anti-virus can ever be guaranteed to detect everything
  2. Ensure your computer is fully updated
  3. Upgrade your computer's web browser and other Internet applications
    1. Internet Explorer
    2. Google Chrome
    3. Mozilla Firefox
    4. Opera
    5. Safari

Important: If you find any malware or viruses on your computer, we recommend that you change all important passwords once the infection has been removed.

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