Slow Computer? Check for Malware and Spyware
Anti-virus Software not Enough Protection
Viruses, malware or spyware may be the reason why your computer may be running slow and lagging. At the bare minimum, you should have anti-virus software installed on all your devices to prevent viruses. AV software is an absolute must!
There are many anti-virus software options for you to select and install on your system. Your choices range from free to a yearly paid subscription. We use the Norton Security Suite.
If you are a XFINITY/Comcast Internet customer, Norton Security Suite is available to you for free.
And from the XFINITY/Comcast site, we recommend downloading the standalone version of Norton Security Suite and skip on the Constant Guard Protection Suite.
One anti-virus program that you may consider that is free and has received 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon based on over 2,000 customer reviews is avast! Free Antivirus 2014.
Your AV software should be updated automatically with the latest virus definitions and protection updates. If you have a free version of AV, you may have to open the program and manually update.
However, anti-virus software will not detect most malware. That's why there are other software options you should use on a weekly or monthly basis to drastically reduce the chance of getting malware or spyware on your computer.
We have set-up a monthly reminder on our Google calendar to notify us to do the following:
- Check for OS updates, download, install and restart computer
- Check for latest anti-virus definitions/protection updates, download, install and run
- Check for latest definitions for anti-malware programs, download, install and run
- Check for latest version of computer optimization software, download, install and run
You can download the software listed below, then install and update them before you run them on your computer or laptop.
AV Software is Evolving
Stacey Vanek Smith of marketplace.org is reporting that using virus protection software alone will no longer be enough to stop the bad guys that are trying to hack into your computer. Eventualy anti-virus software will be replaced by Advanced Threat Protection or ATP.
The difference between AV and ATP? Smith explains, "If the old virus protection software was akin to building a wall around your computer, the new software goes a step further."
Malware Attacks on the Rise
We have encountered our share of computers inundated by viruses and malware that includes trojans, worms, adware and spyware. As a result, really bad things can happen to your computer.
For example, take super retailer Target's credit card hack from December 2013. Credit.com reports that, "Target’s security system FireEye detected malware and alerted (Target) personnel on November 30, 2013."
However, the multi-million dollar FireEye security system was disabled by the Target information security team because they had turned off the feature that automatically deletes the malware it detects. Unfortunately, 40 million consumers had their credit card data compromised because of this oversight.
Nefarious and intrusive, malware can wreak havoc on system performance and can cause unpredictable computer behavior.
This becomes a very painful experience to you as a computer user with a lot of lost time, not to mention the sensitive, financial and private data that can be passed on to hackers like credit card or banking information.
Removal of Spyware and Malware from your Computer
Don't let malware or spyware find it's way onto your computer system. Have a plan in place to prevent your data from being hacked in the first place.
In fact, some malware is designed to go around your existing anti-virus software. Installing a program like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro works hand-in-hand with the anti-virus software already on your computer to ward off the worst kind of malware.
Unauthorized programs that are installed on your computer without your permission can also create a digital bridge for a hacker that can access your sensitive files.
Malwarebytes is a great program, but it's not a catchall for all the malicious spyware and malware. That's why we use the free version of SpyBot to complement Malwarebytes to complete our computer security toolkit.
Computer Tip: Make sure you are updating the definitions of your anti-virus and anti-malware software on a regular basis.
Computer Tune-Up with Maintenance and Optimization Software
Whether you use Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari or Firefox, using the web every day can cause an accumulation of browser cookies and temporary files that can track your web signature as you surf from site to site. Cookies, sometimes referred as trackers, can be good but sometimes bad.
Computer Security Toolkit
Here are some software tools we use for the Windows OS.
Software Video Tutorials
SpyBot Search and Destroy
How To Clean Your Registry With CCleaner
Mac users can refer to Mac Maintenance Tips and Software Utilities.