What is malware?
Malware is a generic term for malicious software; this includes Viruses, Worms, Trojan Horses and Spyware, and comes in all different shapes and sizes. Put simply, malware is software that is designed to damage or disable computers.
How does it get on my PC?
It is easy to get malware on your PC - merely visiting an ‘infected' webpage can land you in trouble. Often malware can be attached to images, links and emails, making it difficult to spot and avoid. Even with the most powerful, up-to-date anti-virus software on the market, you're never completely safe - it will reduce the chances, but not eliminate the risks completely.
So what does malware actually do?
Malware can be intended for any number of purposes, and there are an almost infinite numberof possibilities depending on the ability and know-how of the person developing it. In 9 out of 10 cases, malware will simply render your computer unusable. Vast amounts of pop-ups, adverts and alerts will stop you from performing even the most basic tasks. However, malware in its more complex form can capture key-strokes, erase your data, and lure you into providing sensitive information such as bank details etc.
I think I have malware, help!
So malware has snuck past your anti-virus software, and it seems like there's no hope! The steps below are the steps I take to remove 90 percent of malware infections from PC's. I'll try to keep them clear and concise!
1. Firstly, you will need to start your computer in ‘Safe Mode'. To do this, completely shut down the computer. Once it has shutdown, turn it back on, and repeatedly press the F8 key. You should soon be presented with a menu (white text, black background), that will give you the option to start in Safe Mode. You want to select ‘Safe Mode With Networking'.
If you don't see this, and it goes straight to the Windows loading screen, you'll need to restart the computer and try again.
Once the computer has finished loading, you will see your desktop looking a little different. Does everything look a bit bigger?
2. Next, download Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware from here and save it to your desktop.
- Double-click mbam-setup.exe on the desktop and follow the prompts to install the program
- At the end, be sure that a checkmark is placed next to
Update Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware and
Launch Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
- Click Finish
- If an update Is found, it will download and install the latest version. Keep updating until it says you have the latest version!
- Once the program has loaded, select Perform full scan, then click Scan
- When the scan is complete, click OK, then Show Results to view the results
- Be sure everything is checked, then click Remove Selected
- Now restart your machine
Occasionally, the malware will prevent anything from installing, so you might have trouble at step 1! There is a great little tool to work around this though. It is called Rkill and can be found here.
Download it to your desktop, and then double-click it to run it. If Rkill (which is a black box) appears and then disappears straight away, or you get a message saying rkill is infected, keep trying to run rkill until it overpowers the infection and temporarily kills it. Once a log appears on the screen, you can try installing Malwarebytes, as described in the first section.
I think I still have malware!
In the rare event that the above doesn't seem to have done the trick, there are some other tools available to help you out. You can try the following programs, but remember; if you can't install anything thanks to the infection, simply run Rkill as described above. It's also very important to update any scanning programs before running them!
Other tools that may help
If the problem persists, it's probably time to call the professionals, as incorrect solutions can damage your PC further.
I hope this has been helpful!