What is malware and how to prevent it.

Malware is short for malicious software,it is software designed to secretly access a computer system without the ownerís informed consent. Malware includes spyware, adware, computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, and other malicious and unwanted software.

The rate at which Malware is released now exceeds the rate of release of legitimate software programs. This makes it difficult for Antivirus and Anti-Malware software to detect and defend against newly created Malware. Think of this as a scientist coming up with a cure for a disease that does not exist or that has not even been detected yet. Such fast rate of release makes it difficult for Anti-malware companies to keep your computer from getting infected by the latest threats.

The best way to prevent getting infected from Malware is to keep your computerís operating system up to date with the latest patches and service packs, and to install and keep updated Antivirus and Anti-malware software on your computer. Also, never open email or email attachments from unknown senders. Be especially careful not to click on links from emails claiming to come from financial institutions asking you to update your information on their Website. These are known as fishing emails, as the creators are fishing for anyone to open their emails and follow the fake links to input their account information in order to steal it. I have personally never heard of any financial institution or online merchant that would ever ask a customer by email to update their confidential information online.

Customers often ask me why the authorities donít stop and convict the creators of Malware. The truth is the majority of Malware is created out of the country.That is what makes it difficult to prevent.On March 29, 2010, Symantec Corporation named Shaoxing, China, as the world's malware capital.

Some symptoms of malware are popups on your computer telling you that you may be infected by a Virus. These types of Malware are called fake alerts. The creators of the fake alert program are trying to fool you into thinking that legitimate software on your computer is detecting a virus. It is the fake alert itself that is causing the popups. The creators of the malware are trying to trick you into purchasing their software to remove the infection. Do not ever purchase this software, otherwise they end up with your credit card information.

If you do end up getting infected by Malware, there are legitimate programs out to scan and clean your system depending on the severity of the infection. If you still have Internet access on your computer, or have another computer that you can use to download a legitimate Malware scanner utility. Download the utility and make sure to run it on your computer when booted in Safe mode. Just be very careful when running any utility on your computer if you do not have a lot of experience. Always make sure you have a good backup of all important data before proceeding.

If you are not comfortable using malware removal software or if the software cannot remove the infection, it may be necessary to have the infection removed by a professional computer repair company. They may have to use specialized software and or manual removal of the infected files.