Have you noticed your computer acting weird? Is it running slow or sluggish? Are programs crashing, windows freezing, or pop-ups flooding your screen?
If so, there’s a chance your device might have been infected by malware, and you need to do something about it before it’s too late.
Here’s a list of what you can do, and some (FREE!!) programs we recommend to help you stay secure.
- Back up your computer.
Malware can damage your system and delete important files, so be sure to back up anything you might need onto an external hard drive, USB stick, or the cloud.
- Start your PC in Safe Mode.
This way, Windows will only boot up certain processes, preventing some malware from opening. Here’s how to do it if you have Windows 10 or 8, and here’s how to start Safe Mode on an older version, like Windows 7 or XP.
- Clean temporary files.
This will help make scanning quicker and easier. Just right click on a Windows drive (C:/ or D:/), go to Properties, and then Disk Cleanup. Then, choose which files you want to remove.
- Freeze and stop processes.
Many malware programs are built to detect security products (like antivirus software) so they can survive. Using Rkill (it’s free), you can prevent this from happening and enable other malware remover tools to be downloaded.
- Remove any potential rootkits.
Kaspersky TDSSKiller for Windows removes rootkits, an especially evil malware that hides activity of other malicious software and gains admin rights to provide deeper access. Rootkits are hard to find and harder to remove, and this program does the best job at removal.
- Download a malware removal tool (or three).
Seriously—the more, the merrier here. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial for Malwarebytes 3.0, which can scan for and remove malware and rootkits, and even repair damaged files. If you’ve got adware or corrupted toolbars, ADWCleaner is another great option.
- Reset your browser settings.
Just right-click on your browser icon and hit Properties. From there, go to the Shortcut tab and click Target. Here, the malware may have included a URL your browser will start on. So if something comes after “.exe” then remove it. For example, if you use Chrome, your Target should look like this: C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe
- Make sure your proxy settings are okay.
Some malware changes what server you’re using for Internet. You’ll want to go to Control Panel, then Network and Internet, then Internet Options. Here, you’ll want to go to the Connections tab, and hit LAN settings. Make sure “Automatically Detect Settings” is checked, and that the other two options are empty.
- And finally, be careful.
To protect yourself against future attacks and make sure your computer’s squeaky clean, there are several measures you should take. This includes keeping your software up-to-date and changing your passwords.
So by this point, probably understand that malware is pretty stealthy. If you’re still having trouble, or just want someone to take care of it for you, give us a call.