If your laptop or personal computer becomes suddenly unusually slow and your antivirus program unexpectedly stops working, then a malware might have slipped through the cracks which your antivirus might have failed to catch. Most modern day malicious programs use technically sophisticated defenses which makes it tougher for users to detect and remove.
A malicious software or commonly known as malware is a computer program designed to specifically disrupt and damage a computer system. It is typically in the form of a Trojan horse or a virus that interferes with the normal function of your computer to gain access into your files and personal data then send it to unauthorized parties over the Internet without your consent.
Removal is not as easy as 1,2,3 especially for people who are not computer experts because once your system is infected, the malicious program will does not simply sit in an obvious location, it will hide and move around in your computer system to prevent detection.
It is important to check on possible areas and places where malicious code or program may keep cover. Some of its hiding places are as follows:
Emails and Email Attachments
Most individuals are not aware that their computers can be infected with malware via email. As much as possible delete suspicious emails from unknown senders at once and do not open. Through curiosity we most often than not click on those links in the email body or download attachments especially when it offers a new game or application for free. Bear in mind that sometimes even if you do not open an attach file, some worms can spread through the content of the email. Always filter your spam folder to prevent infected emails to get through.
Registry, Restore Data and Startup Folder
A malware can hide in the Windows Registry. It can actually change the individual settings of the keys by changing their values or add unnecessary keys. Thus, it will be harder to identify a legitimate file from a file associated with malware by simply looking at the files.
Other infections may go into hiding in your computer’s hard drive’s Restore Data. Saved restored files functions as a backup should you need to restore your system to an earlier date. It is advised to turn off System Restore especially if you are using the Windows XP operating system before running a scan with your anti-virus or anti-malware tool.
Additionally, it can also take cover in your Startup folder. It executes itself in the background as you boot up your computer so as the reason why anti-malware software may not be able to locate nor be able to remove it when you perform a scan because it is already running together with the other processes and refuses to shut down. In this case perform your scans in Safe Mode to remove malware infections.
Do not attempt to troubleshoot and remove the virus manually if you are not knowledgeable to do the job. Opt to ask for a professional help if you want them removed manually.
Web-based File Storage and Shared Servers
Web-based file storage is typically used by individuals or businesses to store bulk files, documents and other electronically formatted data. It is a handy and convenient way to access files from different locations anytime. Aside that it can save storage spaces on your device; it can also keep your data secure. However, if there are several people allowed to access the online storage, its security may be compromised. If one accidentally uploads an infected file, everyone else who accesses the same file can be infected with the malicious code. Shared servers likewise are at risk the same way. Thus, it is important to educate and instruct people who can access the online storage to scan a file before uploading and avail offered add-on security features if there is to avoid contamination.
Torrent Sites, Software downloads and Porn sites
Porn and Torrent sites are most frequently infected with malicious software. It would be better to protect your home network or business network by disabling access to these sites through configuration or installing a site blocker software. Moreover, downloading software and other computer programs for your mobile device or computers from shady and unreliable sites can pose a big risk in downloading malwares too.
External Drives, Flash Drives and other Removable Media
Another potential place for malicious software to hide is inside a removable media. There are cases when we need to insert our flash drives to other computers so we can get or transfer files. It is best recommended to deactivate AutoRun and AutoPlay features in your own computer, keep your security programs up to date and consider a virus scan in the removable drive first before opening it to prevent infection.