Basic Computer Security/Malware/Removing & Preventing Malware


Whilst the list of malware that can infect your computer looks daunting, there are several relatively simple steps that you can take to prevent being infected by these nasty pieces of software.

Dealing With Viruses


Unfortunately in the web climate of today sticking even to trusted websites can leave you wide open to virus attacks. Staying away from dodgy websites will prevent most virus infections, but there will always be one or two viruses that find their way on to your system, with the ability to cause untold amounts of damage.

However, viruses can be easily combated by installing and using a reputable antivirus package. Antivirus programs are essential but choosing the right one can be just as important as having one.

Generally commercial antivirus products tend to perform best at keeping your computer free from infection. Some recommended antivirus packages are (in no particular order):

  • Symantec's Norton Antivirus
  • McAfee Antivirus
  • Steganos Antivirus

though there are many other commercial packages that will do just as good a job.

There are also several free anti-virus packages that will protect you from a variety of threats. Two of the most well known offerings are AVG Antivirus and Avast Antivirus.

Using Antivirus Software


Once antivirus software is installed, it should dramatically increase your computer's defences against malware. However, it is important to ensure that it is set up to scan for and defend against all viruses.

Although the features between different packages may be similar, the methods for enabling and disabling them will vary wildly.

To ensure that you are as protected, you can make sure that you enable everything that looks useful. Words to look out for are 'heuristics', 'bloodhound', 'proactive defense' and 'registry guard' or anything that sounds similar. Also set the scan security level to highest possible to ensure that nothing is missed. This will elongate scan times but will ensure that as few viruses as possible are missed. Also tell your antivirus to scan inside archives.

If you are unsure how to set up your antivirus product refer to the documentation that came bundled with it or the companies website.

Scanning for Viruses


For most users scanning once a week should be sufficient to protect your computer from damage. Ideally you should scan your computer every few days, especially if you are accessing internet banking services on a daily basis. Try and scan your computer as often as possible, but don't go crazy with it, adjust the frequency of scans to the level of internet activity on your computer.

Dealing with Trojan Horses


Generally trojan horses will be found and removed by your anti-virus software.

Further Reading