Malware: Types, Protection, Prevention, Detection & Removal

Malware

This article provides important information about the types, symptoms, protection, prevention, detection and removal of malware (computer virus, ransomware, spyware, adware, rootkits, trojan horse, worms, etc..).

This article is the result of several well known sources.

What is Malware?

Malware short for "malicious software" is software that is specifically designed to damage or disrupt a system, steal information (spy on you), or destroy data.[1]

Malware is a broad term used to describe many different types of malicious programs.

Malware Types

Common Malware types are:

Malware Symptoms (Signs)

Some Malware symptoms (signs)[11] are:

Malware Protection Tips

The BEST malware protection is YOU.

Look:

You can have the best malware protection on your computer, but even the best anti-malware (antivirus) software can fail to detect new malware.[12]

Malware threats have grown significantly in the past decade. These threats grow so fast, that antivirus programs take too long to catch up with malware (even the best programs).[13]

Therefore, the best protection is yourself.

You might be wondering:

What does he exactly mean?

Well, if you do any of the following:

Then there's a big chance that your computer will get infected with malware.

There's no better malware protection than yourself, so pay attention with everything you do, online and offline.

And now:

Antivirus Software (Free & Paid)

You should always use antivirus software on your computer – even when antivirus programs can't protect you 100% against all malware.

But:

It's better to have some protection than no protection at all.

And:

Good antivirus software can protect you against most known malware.

You should always install and use only one (1) antivirus program on your computer.

Using multiple antivirus programs on a PC is a very bad idea! [14] Why?

There are so many free and paid antivirus programs out there that it's difficult to choose one.

If you are looking for a good paid antivirus program, then Bitdefender and Kaspersky are good options. Bitdefender and Kaspersky always have very high scores in antivirus tests (AV-tests), like AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives.

If you are looking for a good free antivirus program, then the free versions of Bitdefender and Kaspersky are good options.

Free Second Opinion Malware Scanners

It's also recommended to use second opinion malware scanners to get more complete detection coverage, because some programs may detect malware that others might miss.

A few good free second opinion malware scanners are:

You can use these scanners to scan your PC periodically (e.g once a week) or when you think your PC is infected.

You can use malware scanners alongside your current antivirus software. Which means you get the chance to use other antivirus software on your PC without any problems.

Free Anti-Ransomware Tools

The number 1 protection against ransomware is creating regular backups.

If you don't have an antivirus program with ransomware protection built-in, then you can use one of the following free anti-ransomware tools:

You can use anti-ransomware tools alongside your current antivirus software.

Malware Prevention Tips

You can prevent malware by following these tips:

trick to install malware on your computer

Malware Detection & Removal

I will show you step by step how to detect and remove (get rid of) malware from your infected PC in a few different ways using free second opinion malware scanners (malware removal tools).

The good thing about second opinion malware scanners is, that you can use them alongside your current antivirus software.

Important Tips!

  1. Create a system restore point. If something goes wrong you can restore the mistake with a system restore point.
  2. Always scan your PC with multiple second opinion malware scanners to get more complete detection coverage, because some programs may detect malware that others might miss.
  3. Always double check the results of each scan and make sure that nothing important is selected for removal. Even malware scanners can make mistakes and sometimes see something harmless as a threat.
  4. If you are having problems installing and/or opening second opinion malware scanners, then start Windows in "Safe Mode with Networking" and try again. Jump to: How to start Windows in "Safe Mode with Networking" (located on this page).

Recommended Solution

If your computer is infected with malware (computer virus, spyware, rootkit, trojan horse, worm, etc..), and you want to be 100% sure that your system will be clean, then the best solution is to reinstall Windows or restore a system image backup that's 100% clean.

Why?

Well, if your antivirus (anti-malware) software detected malware, then you will never know for sure if that's the only piece of malware that has infected your system.

Malware can nestle itself deeper into your system and hide itself, so that it can't be discovered by your security software and it can also open doors to other malware.

Now:

I know that most people don't want to reinstall Windows or don't have a system image backup, so that's why I will show you step by step how to remove malware from your infected PC in a few different ways.

Step 1: Delete Temporary Files

Deleting your temporary files can speed up the scanning process and also free up disk space.

You don't need to install any extra software, because Windows has a built-in tool called "Disk Cleanup".

1. Open Windows Disk Cleanup.

Three ways to open this tool:

2. Select the Windows drive (when asked for and if not already selected).

(C:) is the default installation location for Windows.

3. Click on "OK".

The tool will now calculate how much disk space you will be able to free on your system drive.

4. Select the type of files you want to delete. I always select everything.

5. Click on "OK".

6. Click on "Delete Files".

This may take a while. The time it takes depends on how many files need to be deleted. When it's finished the tool will close by itself.

Step 2: Full System Scan with Your Antivirus Software

Look:

Your antivirus program may missed the malware that has infected your PC the first time.

But:

Antivirus companies update their virus definitions hourly, daily or weekly, so it's possible that the malware that has infected your PC has been added in the last update.

First update your antivirus software and then run a full system scan with the program.

Step 3: Kaspersky TDSSKiller

Kaspersky TDSSKiller detects and removes rootkits:

You can download the latest official version of Kaspersky TDSSKiller here.

1. Start TDSSKiller.

2. Accept the "End User License Agreement".

3. Accept the "KSN Statement".

4. Click on "Change parameters".

5. Select "Detect TDLFS file system".

6. Click on "OK".

7. Click on "Start scan".

TDSSKiller will now scan computer for rootkits. This process can take up to 30 seconds.

When the scan is completed it will show you the results of the scan.

8. If malware is detected, then click on "Continue" to remove the malware.

Step 4: Malwarebytes

You can download Malwarebytes here (note: to download the free version, you will have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and then click on "DOWNLOAD 14 DAY TRIAL". You will get the Premium version for the first 14 days and after the 14 days it will turn into the free version – which is a on demand malware scanner).

When you install Malwarebytes it will automatically enable a two week trial version of the premium version, but if you don't want the two week trial, then you can easily disable it in the settings.

Enable "Scan for rootkits"

You will only have to change the following setting once.

1. Start Malwarebytes.

2. Click on "Settings" (located at the left side).

3. Click on "Protection" (located at the top).

4. Go to "Scan Options".

5. Turn on "Scan for rootkits".

enable scan for rootkits in malwarebytes

Scan for Malware

1. Open Malwarebytes.

2. Click on "Scan Now".

Malwarebytes will now scan computer for malware. This process can take up to 15 minutes.

When the scan is completed it will show you the results of the scan.

3. If malware is detected, then click on "Remove Selected" to remove the malware.

Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your PC.

Step 5: Zemana Antimalware

You can download Zemana Antimalware here (for the download button of the free version you will have to scroll down to the comparison table).

1. Start Zemana Antimalware.

2. Click on the "Scan" button.

Zemana will now scan computer for malware. This process can take up to 10 minutes.

When the scan is completed it will show you the results of the scan.

3. If malware is detected, then click on the "Next" button to remove the malware.

Step 6: Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool

You can download Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool here.

1. Start Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool.

2. Accept the "End User License Agreement".

3. Click on "Change parameters".

4. Select (check) "System drive" and click on "OK".

5. Click on "Start scan".

Kaspersky will now scan computer for malware. This process can take up to 40 minutes.

When the scan is completed it will show you the results of the scan.

6. If malware is detected, then click on "Continue" to remove the malware.

Step 7: ESET Online Scanner

You can download ESET Online Scanner here.

Click on "SCAN NOW" to download this tool.

1. Start ESET Online Scanner.

2. Accept the "Terms of Use".

3. Choose between:

4. Click on "Scan".

ESET will now scan computer for malware. This process can take up to 40 minutes.

When the scan is completed it will show you the results of the scan.

5. If malware is detected, then choose one of the following options:

6. Now you will have the following (optional) option: "Delete application's data on close".

7. Click on "Finish".

Step 8: Emsisoft Emergency Kit

You can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit here.

1. Open Emsisoft Emergency Kit.

2. Click on "Malware Scan".

Emsisoft may ask you to detect potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

Emsisoft will now scan computer for malware. This process can take up to 15 minutes.

When the scan is completed it will show you the results of the scan.

3. If malware is detected, then choose one of the following options to remove the malware:

How to Start Windows in "Safe Mode with Networking"

If you are having problems installing and/or opening second opinion malware scanners, then start Windows in "Safe Mode with Networking" and try again.

Booting into "Safe Mode with Networking" will only load the minimum required programs and services.

This mode may also prevent certain Malware from loading automatically when Windows starts.

This could help to remove certain Malware easier, since it's not running and active.

How to start Windows in "Safe Mode with Networking" in Windows XP, Vista & 7

1. Start your PC and keep tapping on the F8 key repeatedly until a menu appears.

2. When the "Advanced Boot Options" menu appears, select "Safe Mode with Networking".

3. Press Enter.

How to start Windows in "Safe Mode with Networking" in Windows 8 & 8.1

Method 1

1. Start your PC and keep tapping on the F8 key repeatedly until a menu appears.

2. When the "Advanced Boot Options" menu appears, select "Safe Mode with Networking".

3. Press Enter.

Method 2

1. Click on the Start menu button.

2. Click on the power button.

3. Hold the Shift key down while clicking on "Restart".

4. When the options menu appears, click on "Troubleshoot".

5. Click on "Advanced options".

6. Click on "Startup Settings".

7. Click on "Restart" to restart your PC.

8. When the Startup settings menu appears, press the 5 key of your keyboard for "Safe Mode with Networking".

How to start Windows in "Safe Mode with Networking" in Windows 10

1. Click on the Start menu button.

2. Click on the power button.

3. Hold the Shift key down while clicking on "Restart".

4. When the options menu appears, click on "Troubleshoot".

5. Click on "Advanced options".

6. Click on "Startup Settings".

7. Click on "Restart" to restart your PC.

8. When the Startup settings menu appears, press the 5 key of your keyboard for "Safe Mode with Networking".

That's all. Hopefully you learned enough about malware to keep your PC clean and safe. If you want to learn more about computer and internet security (cyber security), then please visit one of the following pages (after the ad).

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Reference(s):