Computer Geeks Australia are Adelaide specialists in removing malware, crimeware, spyware and other viruses from your PC laptop, desktop or Apple Mac computer. We identify and eradicate computer viruses and malware that slow down and crash your system.
There are several varieties of computer virus and malware, and they all affect your PC and its security in different ways.
Malware (which stands for malicious code or malicious software) is a generic term that can be applied to any form of computer virus infection devised with the intention of harming a user’s operating system. Therefore, malware encompasses a wide range of malicious codes that can infect your PC, including:
- computer viruses
- dishonest adware
- root kits
- malicious browser helper objects
Whatever the particular type of malware, its intent is generally to slow or damage your system functionality or access private and confidential information stored on your machine or that you access online via your PC.
Adware usually takes the form of pop-up ads for products and services that appear in your web browser unannounced when you are online. They may also open new tabs in your internet browser, alter your home page, or even change your default web browser. While these are undoubtedly irritating, they are the least potentially harmful kind of computer infection—although this is not to suggest for a moment that you shouldn’t have such malware removed as soon as possible. Adware is usually installed on your laptop or desktop when you download free programs from the internet.
Computer viruses are created with malicious intent, usually to destroy the operating systems of PCs they are able to infect. They spread in a variety of ways, and although they most often gain access to your computer through the internet, this is not the only method through which they can find their way into your laptop or desktop computer. Other methods include via a network or through a CD/DVD/USB that contains the virus and which you then use in your PC (which is why most institutions that have public access computers, such as schools and universities frown upon the use of USBs and the like on machines in their networks).
Viruses are so dangerous and destructive because they are created in such a way that they self-replicate and often have the inbuilt capability to disable the virus protection on your computer. The effects of viruses include using up memory and space on your hard disk drive (HDD), slowing down the speed at which your computer operates, corrupting or deleting your existing files and data, slowing or restricting your internet access and, in the worst case scenario, completely crashing your Windows operating system, resulting in destructive data loss.
Spyware is often downloaded at the same time as adware, and the threat is poses can be relatively benign of extremely invasive and potentially dangerous. In its most benign form, spyware reports errors in your computer’s hardware back to the manufacturer, or updates software that you have previously installed when new versions become available. At its most malevolent, spyware is able, without your knowledge or permission, to monitor your online communications and interactions, including emails and browser history, and access your online financial transactions, including online banking.
Crimeware is perhaps the most intrinsically dangerous and destructive form of malware, in that it is created with the intent of infecting your computer so it can access highly sensitive and confidential information, usually relating to your banking and financial information.
This is done through a program which hides itself in your PC’s (TSR) memory and only becomes active when you type in the URL of your online bank. The program then records your key strokes as you enter your log in details (username, password, etc.) which those responsible for creating the crimeware then obtain, allowing them access to your bank account remotely, very often from overseas.
How to Protect Your PC Against Computer Viruses
Taking the necessary precautionary steps to prevent being infected with a computer virus is a less stressful, more cost-effective and ultimately easier method than having malware or an infection removed from your PC after the event.
To ascertain the degree to which your computer is at risk from infection, or the likelihood of it already having contracted an infection, ask yourself the following questions:
Do I have a high quality, up-to-date virus scanner (as opposed to a free program)?
Do I have separate spyware and malware scanners?
Do I keep the definitions on my virus and malware scanners up to date?
Do I run my scanners at least once a week?
If you use your PC to access the internet and you have answered “no” to at least one of these questions, your laptop or desktop computer is already at risk of infection, and in all likelihood has already contracted a virus.
It is therefore extremely important to ensure that your anti-virus and anti-malware are up to date. This is because computer viruses and infections get updated too, just as your operating software does, and so an old version of a previously effective program is unlikely to remain so if not renewed, as new viruses are developed all the time with the ability to circumvent existing protection. Updating your virus protection scanner regularly is therefore crucial to safeguarding yourself. We can check the reliability and effectiveness of your protection during a system maintenance check.
In the meantime, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of your PC becoming infected.
- Ensuring you have the latest updates for your Windows operating system is one of the simplest ways of maintaining the security of your PC. Ensure that Automatic Updates on Windows is turned on and that you apply these immediately, and that the firewall is turned on if you’re using Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. You should also check for optional updates when they are released by Microsoft on the second Wednesday of every month.
- Make sure that other software, such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Flash and Java are also up to date, as the latest versions of these programs are more able to resist newer forms of computer virus and infection. Likewise, use the latest version of your internet browser (e.g., Safari. Mozilla, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.) as these too are better equipped to withstand infection, and ensure that Pop Up Blocker is on.
- Take extreme care when opening email attachments, as this is one of the most common ways in which infections, trojan horses and malware can find their way onto your computer. Likewise, don’t click the links within emails—instead, copy and paste the URL into your browser. In this way, you can avoid being redirected to phishing sites. Avoiding clicking on advertising links is also a good security policy.
- Avoid downloading files unless you are absolutely certain of the safety and integrity of the site from which you’re downloading them. A further useful step is to keep any downloaded items in a separate folder and then scan them with your anti-virus program after a day or two.