Protecting your devices from malware

What is malware?

Malware is malicious software engineered to work for its makers, and not for the computer user. Malware might steal your identity, install unwanted programs, or encrypt and hold your digital files for ransom. As a term, “malware” covers all sorts of malicious software, including Trojans, spyware, adware, ransomware, and viruses. Malware is now often delivered by exploiting flaws (“exploits”) in legitimate programs.

How do I protect against malware infecting my device?

  • Download a proven anti-malware scanner with real-time protection such as Malwarebytes Premium.
  • Keep your programs updated so cybercriminals can’t exploit them.
  • Protect your wifi with an encrypted password. Never use open wifi.
  • Use WPA/WPA2 encryption standard on your home wifi; do not use WEP encryption.
  • Back up important files to a local hard drive.
  • Do not open emails from people/companies you don’t know.
  • Do not click on links sent to you via email or IM without first “hovering” your pointer over the link to confirm it is sending you to a legitimate site.

How do I know if my device is infected with malware?

Look for issues characteristics of a malware infection:

  • Does your web browser freeze or become unresponsive?
  • Do you get redirected to web pages other than the ones you are trying to visit?
  • Are you bombarded with pop-up messages?
  • Does your computer run slower than usual?
  • Do you see new icons on your desktop that you don’t recognize?

What can you do if your device is infected with malware?

  • Remove CDs and DVDs and unplug drives from your computer. Restart in Safe Mode.
  • Download a proven malware scanner such
  • Disconnect from the internet. Then run a scan.
  • Follow instructions to remove any malware.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Update your operating system, browser, and applications if not current.
  • Reset all of your passwords.

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