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What you need to know about malware removal

Malicious software or malware for short is a series of programmes or codes that could damage the operating system of any device such as a computer, e-reader, mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Started as mere tests and experiments of programmers and some pranksters to check if software could go undetected, the motives these days of spreading malware are intrusion of privacy, monetary gains, and identity theft, among others.

Identifying and removing malware

Spread over the World Wide Web, malware finds its way into computers and devices through internet browsing or emailing. It can exist as Trojan horses, worms, viruses, spyware, adware and rootkits.

Others mask malware in the form of downloads in the pretence that an update is necessary for the security of the device. Unless you are sure that the programme you are accessing is from a reputable site, do not do it.

Your mobile phones are not safe either from malware with the first malicious software appearing on smartphones in 2004.

You can remove malware from your devices by installing an anti-malware software and letting it do the job for you. Or, you can do it manually if your programme is not able to detect and remove all risks.

Protect yourself and your devices by installing a malware programme. It acts in the same way that you would install an anti-virus software on your computers or devices by blocking potentially unwanted sites or software from being embedded in your devices.

Run a full scan of your devices. Files that are harmful or unknown are quarantined. You then have the choice of going through the list and decide which ones to remove or keep. Once done, simply hit the 'fix' button and restart your devices for the changes to take effect. Check for updates to your software for top performance.

There are free programmes (with limited features) on the net that you can download such as Malwarebytes Anti-malware, Super Anti-Spyware and Ad-Aware Free Internet Security.

If you can afford an anti-virus protection software subscription, do so. It integrates malware protection in the software and scans your devices in real time from potentially damaging or just annoying programmes.

Symantec, McAfee, Microsoft Security Essentials and Kaspersky are examples of anti-virus protection and security software. McAfee Total Protection includes a virus and spyware protection that will warn you of "potentially unwanted programs". It has an 'advisor site' feature and you can even build your own list of trusted sites.

Removing malware manually is not only tedious and time-consuming but also a tricky one. Look for unwanted programmes by going to the control panel of your devices. Delete unwanted programmes. Be careful not to remove files that are important such as those needed to view files or load images.

Keeping your personal information and devices safe

Minimise the threat of malware and other forms of malicious attacks in cyberspace. If you are unsure about a site's security, don't go there. The same is true with downloads, updates and programmes.

Free yourself from the loss of productivity and privacy that malware brings by being extra vigilant and investing in a good anti-malware protection system.

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