department menu

How to Recover From a Malware Infection

Ever since the first Internet computer worm was unleashed upon the world on November 2, 1998, malware has plagued computer users the world over.

How can your computer get infected?

The most common ways for computers to become infected are from:

  • Opening email attachments which contain malware
  • Downloading files off of the internet
  • Visiting a malicious website or
  • Clicking on malicious advertisements displayed on websites

How to prevent malware from infecting your system:

These tips can help prevent malware from infecting your machine:

  • Run Anti-Virus and keep it up to date
  • Update your computer’s operating system regularly.
    • Be sure to use only the legitimate updating method for your operating system.
      • Use the AppStore for MacOS systems
      • Use Windows Update for Windows systems
  • Regularly update important applications such as:
    • Your web browser of choice
    • Adobe Flash
    • Java
  • Be careful where you click! Many reputable sites have been known to host malware in their banner advertisements
    • UBlock Origin is a great way to block those pesky ads that might contain malware
    • HTTPSEverywhere forces webpages to use SSL whenever it is available
    • PrivacyBadger blocks spying ads and invisible trackers
  • Think before you act; communications and pop-ups imploring you to act immediately or that sound too good to be true are most likely malicious
  • Delete suspicious emails, tweets, posts and other suspicious digital communications
    • These communications are counting on you to make a mistake!
    • Look for misspelled words, links, or threats
    • These communications often look like they are sent from a legitimate source
  • Be wary of unprotected Wi-Fi connections; information sent over unsecured wireless networks is visible to everyone!

How to tell if you've been infected:

Before you can recover from an infection, you need to find it. Below are some telltale signs that you have been infected by malware.

  • You are being asked for personal information or are urged to do something urgently
  • Pop-up windows, especially ones claming to be anti-virus software
  • Computer gets caught in a "reboot loop"
  • Computer starts playing funny sounds or starts talking to you

Remediating Malware:

Having an antivirus software, updating it and using it to scan your computer are crucial steps in recovering from a malware infection.  However, there are wildly varying types of malware, and which one infects your computer determins what you need to do to clean it.  Some of the most common malware infections and the steps to clean them are: