What Is Malware And How To Remove It?

A Complete Guide

Updated on January 29, 2024

Malware’s are always a hot issue in the IT industry as they are considered as a threat towards the security and privacy of the sensitive data of an organization .

What is Malware?

In IT industry, malware are stated as the programs that are designed with an intention to harm a system or steal some information from a system through an illegitimate way. Several types of malicious activities are intended to be performed using the malwares. These malwares are used in cybercrimes to steal the sensitive data in a wrong way. The malwares are usually spread via the medium of internet.

The hackers or the attackers often use e-mails file attachments to inject them inside the targeted system. Sometimes the manipulated websites are also used by the attackers to engage the user and push the malware into the targeted system. Once this malware gets access to a system, they start to multiply and distribute itself throughout the whole infrastructure of a company.

What are the types of malware?

There are a number of types of malware that exist in the modern technological world. These numbers get increased as technology evolves and progresses. We can say that almost every day a new malware is designed, updated, and evolved by the attackers to harm a particular company or an organization. Yet there are some familiar types of malware that already exist to cause digital and technological damage. Some of them are:

  • Trojans

    These are the programs that pretend themselves as normal files or applications and enter into the targeted system. Now after entering into the system, they start to corrupt or damage the sensitive files. These often download more malicious programs from the internet to cause more harm to the system.

  • Ransomware

    These types of malware encrypt the data on a system after getting unauthorized access. After encrypting the data, a ransom amount is demanded. The ransom demand is made in the form of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins. The file or the data are not decrypted until the ransom demand is not fulfilled with the payment of cryptocurrencies. That’s why this malware is also called crypto-malware. Some popular ransomware are WannaCry and Petya

  • Virus

    This is the most common type of malware that gets access to the system using the user’s interaction and activities. This tries to multiply its copies and starts affecting the boot sector and files system. They make the performance of the system sluggish and can cause long-term problems.

  • Worms

    The worms are also similar to the virus and they start to infect the system and penetrate into the internal network of an organization through that infected system.

  • Backdoor

    These are the malware that hides in the common usable programs to get access to sensitive and critical information such as login credentials. Generally, intelligence services make use of this type of malware to gain access to sensitive information.

  • Cryptominers

    This is the latest type of malware that comes into the buzz with the popular and controversial cryptocurrencies. With the help of this malware, the attackers try to rob and consume the resources of a system to mine cryptocurrencies without the knowledge of the system owner. Malicious scripts are injected into the system by the attackers through the scripts present on the websites. The mined currency is then credited to the digital wallets of the cybercriminals.

How to remove a malware and block its infection?

When you feel that malware is infected your system and is affecting the functionality, security, and performance of your system, you have to take some necessary measures to counter the malware. Here we will be discussing some of the preventive steps that must be taken to curb down the effect of the malware.

Preventive steps

  • Disconnecting the internet connection of your system

    If you have a doubt about the system being infected with any malware, just disconnect the internet connection on your system. If you are using a wifi connection just turn it off from the wifi settings. Sometimes the malware blocks the functioning of the network controllers and we are not able to shut down the wifi or other controller to terminate the internet connection. In that case, unplug the WAP or the LAN controller to immediately disconnect the internet.
    This will be helpful as it would stop the malware from infecting all the other systems connected in the network if there are several systems interconnected in the network.

  • Back up all your data

    The first important thing that comes to our mind is to secure our personal and sensitive data from being damaged by malware infection. To do that make a backup of all your data into an external drive, DVD drive, USB drive, or cloud storage. This will ensure the safety of your data and will save you from data loss.

  • Safe mode reboot with networking

    First shut down the computer and reboot it in safe mode with the network connections active. This will turn on the critical and the root process of the system that is essential for the system to work. The other processes would not get started and the malware would not be able to propagate in other parts or components of the drives in the system.

  • Get rid of the temporary files

    The next step that can be adopted to counter the malware is the complete removal of the temporary files existing in your system. In windows it can be done by the ‘Disk cleanup option’ under the properties option

  • Resetting the browser settings:

    Malware infections usually make changes to the browser settings, so that reinfection can be done to the system later on. The browser is set up to download malicious content automatically without the knowledge of the user. So make sure to do a review of the browser settings and make the changes accordingly. Many times the browser target field is changed with a malicious URL. Just change it again with the original browser target. This will ensure that any illicit website is not accessed by the browser without the knowledge of the user. Also, check your default homepage settings and make changes as per your requirements. This will avoid the browser to open an illicit website as a homepage.

  • Use an anti-malware scanner:

    Use an anti-malware program that actively secures the security of your device from a malware attack. Custom scans and scheduled scans can be done using anti-malware to detect the presence of any malicious and suspicious files or programs existing on your system. Norton, McAfee, and Avast antivirus offer you the facility of an anti-malware scanner that can be helpful for this purpose.

  • Check your proxy settings:

    After your system has been infected with any malware, don’t forget to check and verify the proxy settings. This is because even after the removal of the malware, the changes made to the proxy setting by the malware would not be reverted. Make sure that the ‘automatically detect settings option is ‘On’. This will prevent you from getting connected to any malicious server.

Steps to resist the attack of malware are:

  • Use two-factor authentication to save your passwords and credentials from being sensed by the malware.
  • Keep your system updated with the latest updates that are released by windows from time to time. This will be helpful to fix a bug or loophole in your system that can be used by any malware to attack your system. Also, make sure that all the software installed on the system is up to date.
  • Use of a traffic filtering solution will also keep you safe as it continuously monitors the incoming traffic on your network and negates the possibility of malware entering the system.

Some Frequently asked questions related to Malware

Can Windows defender remove malware?
Yes with the help of windows defender you can work on removing malware by simply running the malware scanner which is part of the windows security suite. It will search for the harmful or malicious files present on your computer and will do the necessary action accordingly.

How can you tell if you have a malware?
Following are the indications that you have a malware:
  • Run down of the battery quickly
  • Pop ups get appeared on your screen suddenly
  • A strange increment in the data usage
  • System crashes or sudden freezing of screen
  • Mysterious loss of disk space
  • Browser settings changes
  • Unwanted spams

Can malware steal passwords?
Yes, malware can steal passwords by peeking in your browsing history for the related websites on which you are generally active. Some types of keyloggers can also be used by the malware to steal the typing sequence of your passwords.

Will a factory reset remove malware?
After performing a factory reset, all the data on your computer including files, folders, and saved settings would be completely removed. That is a good way to get rid of malware but it is not successful every time, as there is some malware that does not get removed even after a factory reset.

Why is malware created?
Malwares are created by the cyber criminals to perform cyber activities and cybercrimes. The purpose of creating a malware can be damaging the file system of a targeted computer, to steal personal or financial information, espionage etc.

The conclusion of this complete discussion is that malwares can cause an unexpected damage to your system, if you do not keep an eye on the security of the system. We hope this article would have developed a better understanding of malware, its types and the ways to remove it. You can follow the above mentioned ways to keep your system safe from malware and make it function in a smooth way.

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