We highly recommend you view Microsoft's brief, but extremely well-done and informative online safety videos.
Check out Anti-Phishing Phil, a fun little game that will teach you about how to spot phishing scams.
Malware (also called Adware and Spyware), is actually a small piece of software that gets installed on your computer and then taxes the computer's resources to fuel its purpose. Such purposes might include:
- Popping up advertisements on your screen every few moments, whether you are on the Internet or not.
- Tracking which websites you visit and reporting the results to a third party.
- Logging your keyboard strokes to obtain passwords illegitimately.
One thing all Malware does, regardless of its purpose, is slow down the operation of your computer. Even though most Malware only takes a small percentage of your computer's resources, over time you will get infected with more and more of these malicious little programs until your computer may be using 95% of all its available resources just to fuel the Malware.
Most malware comes bundled with downloadable programs such as webshots, hotbar, mysearch, etc. Essentially, even if you practice good internet habits, you will gradually accumulate malware over time with normal computer use.
To prevent and clean up Malware infections, the Help Desk recommends three Anti-Malware programs (Malware Bytes, Lavasoft Ad-Aware, and Spybot Search and Destroy) which work much like anti-virus scanners. Do not be fooled by fake anti-spyware programs which will display advertisements on your system and collect your personal information.
For information and instructions on using removal tools, click the links below:
Please note that Malware Bytes, Spybot Search and Destroy and Ad-Aware SE Personal are 3rd party applications that you install and use at your own risk
Malware Bytes (very good at scanning for and removing infections
Spybot Search And Destroy (very good at immunizing against malware
Ad-Aware SE Personal (very good at scanning for and removing infections)
Microsoft has developed its own anti-spyware program called Windows Defender. It is a highly integrated program that does both background scans as you are working and custom scans that you can start yourself, just like a virus scanner. Windows Defender is a good program to have to prevent infections, but if you already have a bad malware infection it is probably best to use it in conjunction with the two programs listed above.
If you are still having trouble after using these programs, you should restart your computer in Safe Mode and run them again.