Have you ever been trying to send an email, when an advertisement box suddenly appears on your screen and blocks the “Send” button? Or have you seen an advertisement telling you to “Click here” to make your PC run faster?
Chances are, your PC has been infected by malware. Not only can these little pop-up boxes be annoying, but they can slow your PC down considerably, by using up precious RAM.
Malware (for malicious software) is “any program or file that is harmful to a computer user” (source: WhatIs.com). Most virus protection software will pick up suspected malware, but if you don’t have the relevant features switched on, or you ignore warning messages when you go to potentially risky websites, your PC can become infected.
How to protect yourself:
- Make sure your virus protection software is up-to-date and all scanning features are switched on
- Don’t click on links in suspicious emails or unknown senders
- If an advertisement box appears on your screen, never click any buttons within the box (e.g. “OK”, “Cancel”, “x”). These buttons often have code behind them that actually launches the malware and your PC will then be infected. ALWAYS click the red “Close” button at the very top of the pop-up box (on the same line as the title bar)
How to remove a suspected malware infection:
- Boot Windows in Safe Mode, to avoid further damage by the suspected malware
- Delete the temporary files (to speed up the virus scanning)
- Scan and remove the malware on your PC with multiple antivirus scanners
- Double-check your browser and your Internet connection settings
- Ensure that your PC has real-time antivirus software running, with the Microsoft security features enabled, and make sure that all of your software are up-to-date