What is Malware?
Malware is a term you may have to come to grips with someday. It is short for Malicious Software. Other wise know as virii, spyware and Trojan horses. Plain and simple it is software that you DO NOT want to run on your computer. Software is considered to be malware based on the perceived intent of the creator rather than any particular features that the product may actually purport to have.
Malware is not the same as defective software, that is, software that has a legitimate purpose but contains harmful bugs. Sometimes, malware is disguised as genuine software, and may come from an official site. During the 1980s and 1990s, it was usually taken for granted that malicious programs were created as a form of vandalism or prank. More recently, the greater share of malware programs have been written with a profit motive (financial or otherwise) in mind. This can be taken as the malware authors’ choice to monetize their control over infected systems: to turn that control into a source of revenue.
As malware attacks increase in frequency, attention has shifted from viruses and spyware protection, to more specific types of malware protection, and special programs have been developed specifically to detect and remove them.
Anti-malware programs can fight malware in two ways:
- They can provide real time protection against the installation of malware software on a computer. This type of spyware protection works the same way as that of antivirus protection in that the anti-malware software scans all incoming network data for malware software and blocks any threats it comes across.
- Anti-malware software programs can be used solely for detection and removal of malware software that has already been installed onto a computer. This type of malware protection is normally much easier to use and more popular. this type of anti-malware software scans the contents of the Windows registry, operating system files, and installed programs on a computer and will provide a list of any threats found, allowing the user to choose which files to delete or keep, or to compare this list to a list of known malware components, removing files that match.
How to Prevent Malware
Absolutely hands down the best way to prevent an infection of malware is to be diligent in your online activities. Be very suspicious of anything that just seems to good to be true. This is especially true of programs that claim to fix or repair your computer.
Real-time protection from malware works identically to real-time antivirus protection: the software scans disk files at download time, and blocks the activity of components known to represent malware. In some cases, it may also intercept attempts to install start-up items or to modify browser settings. Because many malware components are installed as a result of browser exploits or user error, using security software (some of which are anti-malware, though many are not) to “sandbox” browsers (essentially babysit the user and their browser) can also be effective in helping to restrict any damage done.
I specifically recommend Spybot Seek and destroy, in addition to Super AntiSpyware by MalwareBytes.