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Your Computer Has Malware. What Should You Do?

What should you do if malware hits your computer?

If you could travel back in time, the best answer would be ‘Do everything you can to protect against it.’

Malware prevention methods include things like:

  • Not opening unsolicited email, clicking on questionable links in email, or downloading files you’re not sure of.
  • Installing operating system, browser and software updates so security upgrades are implemented.
  • Avoiding websites you’re unsure of.
  • Using a proven antivirus program.
  • Being on guard against tech-support phone scams.

If your computer does become infected – which can expose you to identity theft and fraud - you’re going to have to deal with it. And the final answer might be painful.

Signs your computer or device might be infected include:

  • Constant slowness when opening software or browsers.
  • Pop-up ads that warn of problems or won’t close.
  • Inability to access anything on your computer, or a demand to pay a ransom to get access to your files again.
  • The inability to open your antivirus software.

If malware does hit you, you might be able to destroy it with an antivirus program, but that’s not always a guarantee, since new viruses are being created and released all the time.

If that doesn’t work, you might want to consider taking your device to a trusted computer expert to have it worked on and hopefully fixed.

But there’s a chance nothing will work except wiping your hard drive and re-installing your operating system and programs.

With that in mind experts say your best plan of attack is prevention, and you should regularly back up your files so if you need to start over you have the building blocks to restoring your system and getting your files back.

Even then, they suggest running an antivirus program right away to catch anything that might have been contained in the backup.

So while you can try to fight malware once you get it, learning how to prevent it is your best bet.