Information Technology Blog

Tips for Preventing and Removing Malware and Adware

March 17, 2014

Are you getting annoying popup ads or worried that your computer might have a virus?  This article gives tips for preventing and removing malware and adware from computers.

Note:  Some of the following tips such as uninstalling malware programs could lead to inadvertently modifying legitimate and important programs, so if you have any doubts check first with a knowledgeable source like IT support.

  • Malware:  Malware is any program that is designed to damage or disrupt computer systems.
  • Adware:  Adware is any program that displays advertisements on a computer, such as popups.

The tips in this article include practicing safe computing, installing an adblock plugin for your web browser, running antimalware software, and manually deleting malware and adware programs.

 

Practice safe computing

You can significantly reduce the risk of contracting malware and adware by following safe computing practices.  For suggestions on safe computing, see the IT’s Safe Computing article.

 

Install Adblock for your Web Browser

Adblock is a popular web browser program which helps block adware and reduce popups.

Note:  Some websites, such as WebCampus and MyNevada, require popups to function properly.  If you are on a secure and trusted site you can disable Adblock temporarily in order to access the legitimate popup windows.

To download Adblock, do the following:

  1. Google search for the Adblock plugin which applies to your web browser.  For example, if you use the Mozilla Firefox browser, Google search “Adblock Firefox”.
    AdBlock
  1. Access a reputable download website such as CNET or Mozilla.org and follow instructions on the site to download the plugin.

Adblock is available for the major web browsers (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox).

 

Use Malware Removal Software

Malware removal software can help to eradicate malware from your computer.  One common and popular malware removal tool called Malwarebytes allows you to scan for and remove malware from your computer.  For more information personal anti-malware programs, visit our Personal Antivirus webpage.

 

Manually Uninstall Malware and Adware Programs

Sometimes unwanted programs, such as adware, are bundled into free downloads from websites like CNET.  If you notice a sudden increase in popups or strange web browser behavior, you may have contracted an adware or malware program.  You can attempt to manually uninstall mal/adware programs by searching your list of programs to identify and uninstall unwanted programs.

Warning:  There are many important programs on your computer which you can inadvertently uninstall.  If you have any doubts about uninstalling a program, wait and consult with a knowledgeable source such as IT support.

To manually uninstall mal/adware, do the following:

    1. Click the Windows Start button.
    2. Click Control Panel.
    3. In the Programs section, click Uninstall a program.Uninstall a Program

 

  1. Scan the list of programs and look for any suspicious or unrecognized program names.

For example, you may see a program with a suspicious name like AdClicker-AV.

  1. Google search the name of any suspicious programs you find.

Various websites keep collections of malware and adware program names.  If the target program shows up in an online list of malware program names, you can bet that it’s an unwanted program.

  1. In the Uninstall or Change a Program dialog box, double click the unwanted program name to initiate the uninstall process.
  2. Follow prompts to complete the uninstall.
  3. Restart the computer in order for the uninstall to take full effect.

 

Tip:  Check the Installed On date of the program you suspect is adware.  If the install-date of a suspicious program coincides with the start of your computer’s odd behavior, then the program is likely unwanted.

 

 

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