Security on your desktop and your mobile devices has become an important issue in today’s always-on world. Consequently, protecting yourself from infection and intrusion by malware is a matter of priority for online users.
What is Malware ?
Wikipedia defines malware as ” ..malicious software…any software used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information, gain access to private computer systems, or display unwanted advertising” ( Wikipedia)
One of the central characteristics of malware is the “malicious intent ” of the code. In other words, malware is bad news for the computer user and can be intrusive, compromise privacy and slow down and even damage your computer. Furthermore, types of malware such as Regin have been designed to spy on the computer user and others are designed to cause damage (Stuxnet). There are also malicious code that is intended to extort payment, such as CryptoLocker. There is a long list of these nefarious programs and code and all of them can retard, damage or compromise the user computer. This obviously leads to the question of defense and protection from malware.
How do anti malware programs work?
In essence malware and most anti-virus programs function by using what is termed as on-access or real-time scanning. This means that the malaware software connects to the systems operating core and kernel and monitors any attempts by malware or viruses to intrude into the operating system of the computer. This is very similar to the way that malware itself works but obviously in this case the malware application is operating with the user’s permission to detect and prevent malware intrusion. In effect what happens is that, ” Any time the operating system accesses a file, the on-access scanner checks if the file is a ‘legitimate’ file or not. If the file is identified as malware by the scanner, the access operation will be stopped, the file will be dealt with by the scanner in a pre-defined way…and the user will be notified.” (Hemayait.com)
How do you protect yourself from evil malware?
Besides the obvious precautions, such as not opening suspicious email attachments and avoiding suspicious websites, your best protection is a dedicated anti-malware program. There are a number of anti-malware software applications on the market. One of the most popular and effective of these is Malwarebytes . This application offers the following features:
- It cleans infections that are already present in the system as a result of previous malware infections.
- It safely detects and removes malware without harming or altering the operating system.
- It prevents future infections. However, one should also bear in mind that there is a free and premium version of the application. Only the premium version of the application provides continuous background monitoring of the system with automatic scanning for malware infections.
- The premium edition of the software also blocks malicious websites that may introduce malware into the system.
Why choose Malwarebytes
There are many anti-malware applications on the market and most of them do a good job. These include Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Kaspersky Antivirus, F-Secure Anti-Virus, and many others – all have anti-malware facilities with different levels of security. However, surveys and tests of the Malwarebytes application tend to show that it is one of the best if not the best at detecting and defending against malware infections: for example, a report from Lifehacker.com states that : ” A recent test done by the independent antivirus research group AV-TEST…took a look at the performance of today’s most popular malware removal applications. Most of the applications showed excellent performance, but only Malwarebytes—a free download—managed a perfect score.”
What to do next.
Download the free version of Malwarebyte at https://www.malwarebytes.org/ and run it on your computer to see if it identifies and eradicates any malware on your system. Try other malware applications such as Bitdefender and compare the results from each program. You don’t have to buy the premium version of Malwarebytes but you can run the free version when you wish – however you will not be continuously protected from malware. There is also a trial period on offer in which you can use the premium version for free for a period of time to continuously monitor and protect yourself from malware. We suggest that you try this first before purchasing the premium edition.