Often the first time a user determines malware is installed is when their computer starts to act strangely. For example, popup windows and/or running slow.

Often the first time a user determines malware is installed is when their computer starts to act strangely. For example, popup windows and/or running slow. Of course, malware is not always the problem, but one should always be aware of the threat. If you can determine what application is taking up all of the resources you may find a memory leak in the application is the problem. A quick fix in this case would be a reboot, and then determine if an update to the application is available. Unfortunately, often malware is the problem.

When malware is the culprit you have to address the problem in a different manner. This malware is often installed when a user either intentionally, or accidentally, clicks upon a link on a website that downloads the software from untrusted sites. This can be as simple as an Ad on a trusted site. Yahoo was a well documented vehicle for such a method. An additional problem with users clicking on these Ads is that once they install one item of malware it seems as though it is a beacon for additional malware, so it is important to eliminate malware as soon as possible.

One of the best approaches to preventing malware is to install Anti-Virus/Malware software, and just as important is to keep this up-to-date. Most, if not all, of this Anti-Virus/Malware software have the ability to auto update and scan. Do not schedule these updates/scans when your computer is off, but allow it to run at times when they are least intrusive to your use of the computer. Also, ensure that they run at least once a week, and regularly review the results.

Remind your users that those that are attempting to gain access to your computer do not have to break into your office. Often the most critical information is available on the computers and using a work computer for personal surfing and games can provide the easiest access. People click on links without considering the consequences. If one wants to go to a particular site, do not attempt to type in the URL to the site, but use a search provider (e.g., Google, Bing) that scrutinize the links that they provide and provide visual confirmation of their legitimacy. To many people are tricked in to providing their access credentials (i.e., username and password) upon spoofed sites. That is, sites that are almost identical to the real site, but with a slight typo in the URL.

There are tricks that some use to gain access to your computer, such as Virus warning messages! These popups encourage the download and scan using their product, that will discover a virus that it can eradicate for a small cost of the software. Only use credible Anti-Virus Products, and only obtain them from credible sources (e.g., the site of the actual Product Vendor). Other signs include additional browser toolbars, or icons. Whenever you are prompted to change passwords, be sure that you are doing so at the actual site.

Be vigilant and do not follow links to dubious sites. Those that gain access to your computer are counting upon your naiveté, and gullible nature.





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