How Can I tell What Is Wrong with My Computer?

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Today, most jobs require the use of computers. However, some computers may start developing problems over time, and this is when you begin wondering “what is wrong with my computer?” The problem can be because of malware. We have rounded up a few tips that will help you understand more about computer problems and how to keep your computer protected.

|​SEE ALSO: Online Safety: Learning Computer Defense Basics|​ 

What Is Malware?

Malware is an abbreviated term for “malicious software.” It is designed to access an individual’s computer and damage it, without the owner’s permission or knowledge. Although it was originally created as experiments and pranks, malware is now used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. Malware may also be used in stealing information and spying on computer users. It refers to several forms of malicious software, including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, and spyware.

Malware can usually spread itself and may do some sort of damage or theft. This could be something as trivial as displaying silly messages or causing serious damage to your files and your computer. Malware can also steal the usernames and passwords you use to log onto websites such as online banking. Sending spam email also happens as a result of malware attacking your computer.

The damage may or may not happen once your computer acquires the malware. It can be activated remotely, on particular dates, or after a particular length of time, giving it enough time to spread before the owner of the computer notices.

What Is a Computer Virus?

A virus is a program that piggybacks onto your computer through software or other items that you have installed on your computer. It could even come from Internet downloads. ‘Virus’ is the term most often used to describe computer malware.

How Does Someone Spread Malware?

Most people end up cwith malware because they unknowingly installed it. There are many ways to spread malware. It can be sent as email attachments with names that look completely harmless. It may be embedded in web pages, scanning the network for vulnerable computers, or through infected CDs. There are also many other ways to spread malware. It often gets packaged in with more legitimate software. A fake error message can trigger a malware download.

Examples of Malware

The main purpose of malware is causing damage. For example, Spyware tracks you for advertising purposes and slows down your computer. Scareware imitates anti-virus software to extort money from you. Keyloggers monitors every keystroke you make to steal credit card information. Ransomware takes your important files and demands a ransom in order to return them. Another malware exists just to create a fake login page for your bank’s website in an attempt to steal your account information.

Understanding Anti-Virus Protection

Malware continues to exist around the web and is a real danger to individuals’ computer systems, files, and information. Every computer user should take steps to protect themselves and their systems. It is also worthy to note that data loss is not always the result of malware attacking your computer. It may occur as a result of human error or computer breakdown, so it is important to perform regular backups.

New Computer Malware

People tend to worry about new viruses attacking their computers, and they have every right to be. Hackers or online criminals are working round the clock to create new malware. New computer viruses appear daily in the online world. Reasons for this vary; however, the most common one is profit. When someone creates a new virus, computer users will start buying anti-virus software in order to protect their computers. Online criminals may also be after your banking information or your credit card numbers. In some cases, they may be seeking confidential information that could be used to extort you or harm your business.

How to Protect Your Computer?

– Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software.

– Do not run more than one anti-virus program together; this may cause your computer to run extremely slow or to crash.

– Keep your PC operating system updated. Nothing in this world is perfect, and so is the software on your PC. It may contain security holes that make it possible for your computer to be infected easily. Software companies know their systems are not 100% perfect, that’s why they release updates to protect their users.

– Keep all the programs on your computer updated.

– Do not open any email attachment from suspicious senders. Oftentimes, emails are disguised to look as if they are from a familiar company such as a bank or a personal email from a friend. Never provide your password through email to any entity that asks for it.

– Avoid following links in unexpected messages, even if they come from a friend, especially if the message is something like “check out this cool website!” followed by a link.

– Avoid running programs or opening documents if you do not know their origin.

– Make sure you always perform regular backups of all important data on your computer in case you need to recover from a major malware infection.

– Be very cautious before inserting removable media, such as CDs, DVDs, and USB memory sticks, into your computer.

– If you do suspect your computer has been infected with malware, stop doing things that require personal information, such as online banking and shopping.

– Avoid clicking on pop-ups, especially ones that resemble your Windows error messages. Sometimes error messages may appear when you are trying to close a page, never click on them. If you have to, force quit the program.

– If any software begins to install by itself, cancel the installation immediately.

– Never install new software on impulse. Think your decision through and, at the very least, Google the name of the software you want to install. Installing new software should be treated with the same caution you apply when deciding to let someone you don’t know into your home.

At the end, you can protect your computer from vicious malware. Just be careful about what attachments you open, stay away from suspicious websites, and install and maintain an updated, quality antivirus program. If you do this, you may never have to ask yourself again “What is wrong with my computer?”

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