What is malware?

Malware is any kind of malicious software, including adware, spyware, viruses, worms, etc.  

In this section, you will learn:

  • How to prevent malware
  • How malware gets onto your computer 
  • How to know if you have malware


How can you prevent malware from getting on your computer?


How does malware get onto your computer?

Anyone who browses the web, downloads email attachments, uses instant messaging software or file sharing software with a Windows computer is very likely to have software installed on their computer without their knowledge.  These programs are often a conduit for malicious software and can seriously affect your privacy and your computer’s security.

Once installed on your computer, malware typically results in slow network connections or an inability to update security programs like VirusScan, Windows Updates or Malwarebytes.  Most malware relays personal information to advertisers and other interested third parties, and some contain dangerous files aimed at stealing passwords for email or bank accounts, convincing you to buy anti-virus programs or stealing product keys from your computer.

In an attempt to help combat this problem, the College has purchased a site license for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware that helps track down and remove these programs from your office computer.

How do you know if you have malware?

  • Your computer is slower than usual or stops responding
  • Your computer runs out of disk space
  • Your computer crashes often
  • New icons appear on the desktop
  • You see a lot of pop-up windows when web browsing
  • Ads pop up when the browser is closed
  • You receive a message from anti-virus or anti-spyware software suggesting you have a problem
  • The web browser closes unexpectedly
  • Your homepage or toolbars have changed and cannot be reset