Malware is malicious software. The goal of most cyber criminals is to install malware on your computer or mobile devices. Once installed, attackers can potentially gain control of your system.
Symptoms your computer might be infected with malware
- Your computer is running extremely slow.
- You encounter pop-up messages while surfing the Internet, claiming a virus has been detected, and asking you to download software to get rid of it. Watch out! These are usually scams to trick you into downloading malware onto your computer.
- Your computer has become unstable. If your computer crashes when you try to run an application or file, then something has corrupted the data.
- Your antivirus and firewall protection are unexpectedly disabled.
- Unfamiliar or strange error messages.
Protect yourself against malware
Be vigilant and avoid downloading and installing anything from untrusted sources such as:
- Unfamiliar websites
If you’re unsure, do some research on the software first before deciding to install it.
Don’t trust anything associated with spam emails. If you’re suspicious of something you’ve been asked to install, don’t do it.
- Physical media
Your friends may unknowingly give you a pen drive with an infected file on it. Don’t blindly accept these files; scan them first with antivirus software.
- Pop-up windows
Some pop-up windows might ask you to download free software. Close the pop-up without clicking anything on it.
- Other software
Some programs attempt to install malware as part of their own installation process. When installing software, pay close attention to the message boxes before clicking Next, OK, or I Agree.
- Illegal file-sharing services
There is little quality control when using a file-sharing service. It’s easy for an attacker to name a piece of malware after a popular movie, music, or program just to trick people into downloading it.