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Detect and Remove Malware on Your Computer
By: wubayou
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    Concerned about viruses, trojans, and other kinds of malware getting onto your computer? You should be. Fortunately, you don't have to be a helpless victim of hackers. Keep reading to learn how to detect these vicious programs, safely remove them, and keep them from getting onto your PC in the first place.

    There have been many reports released recently that detail the ever-growing presence of malware in the online world. Whether it be via spam emails, social networking sites, through instant messaging clients, or other forms, malware is everywhere. It does not seem to be going away anytime soon, either. 

    Keeping that in mind, you want to ensure that you have the utmost level of protection against malware. While protecting yourself against malware is important, it is equally important to detect it. This three-part series will detail how to detect malware on your Windows PCs as well as how to rid them of this omnipresent nuisance of the cyber world.

    The likelihood of an infection on your PC

    Although you may be one of the most cautious people in the world, there is still a high likelihood that your PC is infected. According to a study released by Dasient, there were 1.3 million websites that were infected with malware in the second quarter of 2010. Even legitimate, trusted websites can be infected and load your PC with malware via drive-by downloads when you visit them. 

    Risky behavior such as visiting porn sites, downloading unauthorized music and movie files, or searching for free things on the net will also expose you to malicious content. Clicking sketchy links and opening attachments in emails or websites can put your PC in harm's way too. 

    If you do not run updated antivirus software, like an estimated 40 percent of computer users, your chances of having an infected PC go even higher. Even if you do run antivirus software, some malware disables it. 

    How to tell if your PC is infected

    There are some signs to look for that can tell you if your PC is infected. On the other hand, there is also malware that may not present negative symptoms that are detectable through the naked eye. Ways to detect these trickier, silent viruses will be detailed later on. 

    As for symptoms to look for in an infected PC, pop-ups are usually one common sign. Pop-up ads may even appear if you are not actively connected to the Internet. A fake antivirus is commonly shown through pop-ups that display messages saying your computer is infected. They then prompt you to click on them to purchase antivirus software in order to clean the virus. 

    Other symptoms include odd dialog boxes or menus that appear to look different from usual. You may have a hard time running applications successfully, or your computer may run very slowly. Frequent crashes are another symptom, as well as the inability to access certain disk drives.

    Some symptoms you may notice while browsing the net include page redirects, where you are sent to a different website from the one you expected to see. You may notice that your home page has been changed, or that your default search engine no longer appears. You may even see that your mouse pointer looks different, or that a new toolbar has become part of your browser.

    It should be noted that, while the symptoms listed may suggest an infection, they could mean that your computer has a different problem. For instance, odd performance behavior could indicate that your system is lacking memory, needs to be defragmented, or is suffering from another issue.

    Stay tuned for part 2 of this series, where further ways to check and remove infections will be discussed.

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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