Malware stands for malicious software and is any type of software that intends to harm a computer. Of course, this is a broad term and it covers a great many different types of software that are under this umbrella. If you take a moment and look at the statistics, you will come to realize that malware has been increasing tremendously over time and the reports for malware in 2014 have been disappointing.
Apparently, the use of mobile devices that has been taking an upward trajectory has played a dramatic role in the increase of malware – especially on Android devices, if you take into account the fact that almost all malware has to do with Android (97%, to be exact).
Many people have been worried sick as to the effects of malware and some even reduce the time that they spend in front of a computer, simply in avoidance of such negative effects. There have been a lot of rumors related to the severity and effectiveness of malware, plus there has been great secrecy or ambiguity as to how one should tackle with these problems.
Below, we are going to highlight exactly what the effects of malware can be; after that, of course, we are going to display the different types of malware and (last but not least) we are going to present you a complete malware removal guide. So, stay by-side and let’s hit it!
Effects of Malware on Our Computer
Upon having been infected with malware, you will start dealing with several problems. Depending on the exact type of malware that you have been infected with, you will start experiencing the following (to a specific extent):
- Data Leaking: Of course, this is one of the major consequences of malware infection. All the sensitive data that has been out of sight for everyone else but you will now be potentially leaked to strangers and people who will wish to take advantage of that leakage. This information includes top classified documents of your work, medical records and even banking accounts’ credentials and private pictures of yours and your loved ones.
- Computer Infection: Besides leaking data to the public and making use of information without your knowledge, you can expect the performance of your computer to deteriorate substantially. This means that your computer will slow down and that you will not have the opportunity to enjoy the services and special features that you did in the past.
- Personal Files Infection: Apart from your computer in general, what will be infected is none other than the personal files of yours. As a result, some documents might be proven unable to open or use properly and the same goes with programs, pictures and all other files on your device.
- Transactions’ Insecurity: When you know that you have been infected with malware, all the financial transactions of yours (for instance banking transactions or online purchases) will be jeopardized. Never again will you be able to proceed with secured transactions, knowing that the computer of yours has got malware that can spy on your personal information and even intercept money from you.
These are the major and more important effects of malware, which all add to the general feeling of insecurity online. A person who realizes that his computer has been compromised can never trust working online or doing something of value with the specific device.
Are all types of malware equally powerful, though? Can they lead to the same effects and disastrous consequences? Of course not! This is the reason why anti-virus programs cannot detect all malware, due to their growing sophistication and their versatile nature. Let’s have a look at some of the most frequently presented malware types, shall we?
Different Types of Malware
Below we have gathered the top 5 malware threats that you should be well aware of, as they can penetrate your computer without your knowledge and cause grave harm. Let’s find out more about them:
- Emit: This is malware that initiates unauthorized access to the control of the infected computer. Using the Autorun, Emit launches its operation automatically upon having infected the computer. It is quite sophisticated and therefore sometimes it goes unnoticed, even during a scan from your anti-virus program. Read steps for removing Emit here.
- Firefox Redirect Virus: As its name suggests, this virus leads to the redirection of your computer to unwanted, suspicious websites. It infects Firefox and this is why it has been named like that, making huge damage related to pop-up windows and ads, links that may contain illegal content and so on.
- FBI Virus: This malware is also called “FBI Moneypack scam”. This is ransomware and it infects your computer, by taking it “hostage” and demanding that you pay some sort of monetary fee to gain control of it once more. The fee can be as high as $200 for getting rid of the malware, which is disguised as legal with the use of FBI (that has detected some illegal activity on your behalf). Norton’s guide to remove such malware is worth reading.
- Loyphish Phishing Scam: Loyphish is malware that lures you to click on a suspicious link via an email and then convinces you to write down your personal information on a form (which is in no way legit or valid). All kinds of sensitive data can be given out in this manner and cause problems to you.
- Sirefef: This malware is also known as ZeroAccess. This is quite versatile, meaning that it can take various forms (like Trojans or rootkits and viruses). It penetrates your computer and takes control of it or harms it in multiple ways. An interesting article to remove Sirefef can be found here.
Now that we have become well aware of what malware can do to our computer, it is high time we got ready to learn more on how to remove malware. Off we go!
Getting Ready for the Malware Removal
It is possible that the malware runs on a proxy setting; consequently, it is crucial that you follow the procedure of resetting proxy settings prior to moving forward to the next step. The steps that you ought to follow include:
- Going to the Start menu
- Clicking on Control Panel
- Choosing Internet Options
- Connections tab
- LAN Settings
- Proxy Server (which is the first box) needs to be un-ticked
- OK and you are done!
Another method for getting the same result includes going to the Start menu, clicking on Run and writing down “inetcpl.cpl”. This will lead you to click on OK and follow the above instructions from LAN Settings.
Malware Removal Process
We mentioned removal guides for most of the Malware types above, but there are certain steps that you can take to get rid of any type of malware. So now, we have prepared our computer for the actual malware removal process by resetting proxy and we are good to go. Next, this is what you need to do:
- Preliminary Rootkit Scan (Automatic): Before running any additional antimalware scan, it is advisable that you proceed with a preliminary rootkit scan. There are several anti-rootkit tools available on the market for you to have your pick from. We are going to recommend TDSSKiller, which is a tool from Kaspersky. If you need more information on this product, you can click here. After having downloaded the tool, you will need to run it. To do that, you ought to follow the exact guidelines:
- Open the program and click Start scan
- It takes less than a minute
- After the scan, you click on Close (assuming that there is nothing found)
- Otherwise, you click on Cure
- Continue and Skip will be your next clicks
- Continue again and reboot your computer, if TDSSKiller asks you to.
There is a possibility that the anti-rootkit tool does not start. In this scenario, you should not panic or think that there is nothing to be done about it. On the contrary, you will have to rename it by clicking on it and choosing the respective command. Choose any name you want, with a .com extension or try out a different tool that performs a similar process.
- Scan and Clean: It goes without even questioning that you ought to make sure that you run a complete scan on demand, in order to detect all the malware and any other anomaly that the program can. Of course, it is important to remember that you need not do anything else while the scan takes place – even if this means that you wait for a long time till the full scan is over. Another thing that you ought to pay attention to is the fact that only one scan is held at a time. You should not consider it more powerful to have two or more anti-virus scans performed simultaneously.
- Run a Full Antivirus Scan: In case the on-demand scan has not offered anything of use (meaning if it has not detected any threat), you need to proceed with a full, thorough scan for viruses. It is needless to point out that you ought to have up-to-date antivirus software installed and activated on your computer. If you should find out everything during this scan, you should cure, delete it or place it to quarantine in avoidance of any further damage.
After Malware Removal is Done: Now What?
Even if you have done everything by the book, you will have to make sure that you have got the proper malware protection. There are some guidelines that you need to comply with, in order to eliminate all threats regarding malware infection in the future. These actions include:
- Changing All Passwords: It is true that malware can deprive you of your privacy. As a result, your personal information can already be stolen and someone else might have gained access to your password. So, it is critical that you immediately change them and that you do not use any of the credentials that you had while being compromised with the malware.
- System Restore Cleaning Up: It is equally important for you to clean up any traces of malware from your system restore. Disk Cleanup is the best way for you to do that. These are the instructions that you ought to follow:
- Go to Start Menu and Choose All Programs
- Go to Accessories and then click on System Tools
- Choose Disk Cleanup and then More Options
- From there, you choose System Restore and Cleanup
If you do not want to make a fuss, a different approach would be for you to go to Start Menu and head to search box. There, you write Disk Cleanup and when this is located, you click on the option that has been displayed to you.
- Temporary Files Cleaning: Last but not least, you should clean up any temporary files that have been stored on your computer. Apart from removing any trace of malware still detected within your computer, this procedure will help you out free your hard drive and thus get more free space for future reference.
Talk to the Pros
So, this has been a thorough malware removal guide that we have completed for you. Still, it is true that not all people are equally familiar with computing and as a result we cannot expect everyone to have the same reaction and the same competence regarding malware protective measures and actions. If you are uncertain of the outcome of everything that you have just completed, you need to reach out to the pros.
In case you do not want to spend money and time trying to track down an expert in close proximity to you for getting a security inspection on your computer, you can start a topic at technology-computing related forums on the web. They feature people who know a lot about computers and who can guide you properly, should you be detailed enough.
Of course, SecurityGladiators.com would be really happy to hear from you, too! If you have any inquiry or anything that you wish to clarify about the guide that we have completed for you, feel free to contact us! We will be prompt to reply and try to figure out how we can help you the most, enlightening you as to what you can do for best tackling with malware.
Top/Featured Image: By gorefaery / DeviantArt