Malware refers to any type of malicious software that tries to infect a computer or mobile device. Hackers use malware for any number of reasons such as, extracting personal information or passwords, stealing money, or preventing owners from accessing their device. ‘Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.
It’s not always easy to tell if your computer was compromised or not,because these days cybercriminals are going to great lengths to hide their code and conceal what their programs are doing on an infected computer.
It’s very difficult to provide a list of characteristic symptoms of a infected computer because the same symptoms can also be caused by hardware incompatibilities or system instability,however here are just a few examples that may suggest that your PC has been compromised :
- You may receive the error “Internet Explorer could not display the page” when attempting to access certain websites
- Your web browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome) freezes, hangs or is unresponsive
- Your web browser’s default homepage is changed
- Access to security related websites is blocked
- You get redirected to web pages other than the one you intended to go to
- You receive numerous web-browser popup messages
- Strange or unexpected toolbars appear at the top of your web browser
- Your computer runs slower than usual
- Your computer freezes, hangs or is unresponsive
- There are new icons on your desktop that you do not recognize
- Your computer restarts by itself (but not a restart caused by Windows Updates)
- You see unusual error messages (e.g., messages saying there are missing or corrupt files folders)
- You are unable to access the Control Panel, Task Manager, Registry Editor or Command Prompt.
Malware includes computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, adware, malicious BHOs, rogue security software and other malicious programs; the majority of active malware threats are usually worms or trojans rather than viruses.
Below you can find a short description for the most common types of malware:
- Trojan Horse
A Trojan Horse is a type of malware that pretends to be something useful, helpful, or fun while actually causing harm or stealing data. Trojans are often silently downloading other malware (e.g. spyware, adware, ransomware) on an infected device as well.
A computer worm is a type of Trojan that is capable of propagating or replicating itself from one system to another. It can do this in a number of ways. Unlike viruses, worms don’t need a host file to latch onto. After arriving and executing on a target system, it can do a number of malicious tasks, such as dropping other malware, copying itself onto devices physically attached to the affected system, deleting files, and consuming bandwidth.
Spyware is a type of malware that’s hard to detect. It collects information about your surfing habits, browsing history, or personal information (such as credit card numbers), and often uses the Internet to pass this information along to third parties without you knowing. Keyloggers are a type of spyware that monitors your keystrokes.
Ransom malware or ransomware is a threat that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and demands ransom payment in order to regain access.
The term “rootkit” comes from “root kit,” a package giving the highest privileges in the system. It is used to describe software that allows for stealthy presence of unauthorized functionality in the system. Rootkits modify and intercept typical modules of the environment (OS, or even deeper, bootkits).
Adware, short for advertising supported software, is arguably the forerunner of the modern day PUP (Potentially Unwanted Program). Adware is typically a standalone program which displays adverts to the end-user in a variety of forms: inside the program itself, or via pop-ups, slide-in adverts, browser pop-ups, inserted adverts, or altered website content. The revenue generated by the adverts is how the program the adware is attached to is paid for, meaning the end-user receives their desired tool or service for “free.”
How to remove Trojan, Virus, Worm and Malware (Windows Help Guide)
Please perform all the steps in the correct order. If you have any questions or doubt at any point, STOP and ask for our assistance.
To remove a Trojan, Virus, Worm, or other Malware from Windows, follow these steps:
- STEP 1: Use Rkill to terminate suspicious programs
- STEP 2: Use Malwarebytes to remove Trojans, Worms, or other Malware
- STEP 3: Use HitmanPro to Scan for Malware and Unwanted Programs
- STEP 4: Use Zemana AntiMalware Portable to remove Adware and Spyware
- (OPTIONAL) STEP 5: Double-check for malicious programs with Emsisoft Emergency Kit
- (OPTIONAL) STEP 6: Reset your browser to default settings
Some forms of malware may try to stop you from using the below tools. If this happens, we recommend that you start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking, and try from there to perform the Malwarebytes scan.
Safe mode starts Windows in a basic state, using a limited set of files and drivers. It can help you troubleshoot problems on your PC. For example, if the problem doesn’t happen in safe mode, you’ll know default settings and basic device drivers aren’t causing the issue.
To start your PC in Safe Mode with Networking, you can follow the below steps:
- Turn on the computer and immediately begin pressing the F8 key repeatedly.
- From the Windows Advanced Options Menu, use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode with Networking, and press ENTER.
Windows 8.1 and Windows 10
- Restart your PC. When you get to the sign-in screen, hold the Shift key down while you select Power and then click on Restart.
- After your PC restarts to the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings > Restart.
- After your PC restarts, you’ll see a list of options. Select 5 or F5to start your PC in Safe Mode with Networking
STEP 1: Use Rkill to terminate suspicious programs
RKill is a program that will attempt to terminate all malicious processes associated with this infection, so that we will be able to perform the next step without being interrupted by this malicious software.
- You can download Rkill from the below link.
RKILL DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “RKill”)
- Double click on Rkill program to stop the malicious programs from running.
- RKill will now start working in the background, please be patient while this utiltiy looks for malicious process and tries to end them.
- When the Rkill tool has completed its task, it will generate a log. Do not reboot your computer after running RKill as the malware programs will start again.
STEP 2: Use Malwarebytes to remove Trojans, Worms, or other Malware
Malwarebytes is a powerful on-demand scanner which will remove trojans, worms and any type of malware that may be installed on your PC. It is important to note that Malwarebytes will run alongside antivirus software without conflicts.
- You can download download Malwarebytes from the below link.
MALWAREBYTES DOWNLOAD LINK (This link open a new page from where you can download “Malwarebytes”)
- When Malwarebytes has finished downloading, double-click on the “mb3-setup-consumer” file to install Malwarebytes on your computer.
You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow Malwarebytes to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
- When the Malwarebytes installation begins, you will see the Malwarebytes Setup Wizard which will guide you through the installation process.
To install Malwarebytes on your machine, keep following the prompts by clicking the “Next” button.
- Once installed, Malwarebytes will automatically start and update the antivirus database. To start a system scan you can click on the “Scan Now” button.
- Malwarebytes will now start scanning your computer for malicious programs.
This process can take a few minutes, so we suggest you do something else and periodically check on the status of the scan to see when it is finished.
- When the scan has completed, you will be presented with a screen showing the malware infections that Malwarebytes has detected.
To remove the malicious programs that Malwarebytes has found, click on the “Quarantine Selected” button.
- Malwarebytes will now quarantine all the malicious files and registry keys that it has found.
To complete the malware removal process, Malwarebytes may ask you to restart your computer.
When the malware removal process is complete, you can close Malwarebytes and continue with the rest of the instructions.
STEP 3: Use HitmanPro to Scan for Malware and Unwanted Programs
HitmanPro can find and remove malware, adware, bots, and other threats that even the best antivirus suite can oftentimes miss. HitmanPro is designed to run alongside your antivirus suite, firewall, and other security tools.
- You can download HitmanPro from the below link:
HITMANPRO DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “HitmanPro”)
- When HitmanPro has finished downloading, double-click on the “hitmanpro” file to install this program on your computer.
You may be presented with an User Account Control pop-up asking if you want to allow HitmanPro to make changes to your device. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to continue with the installation.
- When the program starts you will be presented with the start screen as shown below. Now click on the Next button to continue with the scan process.
- HitmanPro will now begin to scan your computer for malware.
- When it has finished it will display a list of all the malware that the program found as shown in the image below. Click on the “Next” button, to remove malware.
- Click on the “Activate free license” button to begin the free 30 days trial, and remove all the malicious files from your computer.
When the process is complete, you can close HitmanPro and continue with the rest of the instructions.
STEP 4: Use Zemana AntiMalware Portable to remove Adware and Spyware
Zemana AntiMalware Portable is a free utility that will scan your computer for adware, browser hijacker and other malicious programs.
- You can download Zemana AntiMalware Portable from the below link:
ZEMANA ANTIMALWARE PORTABLE DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download “Zemana AntiMalware Portable”)
- Double-click on the file named “Zemana.AntiMalware.Portable” to perform a system scan with Zemana AntiMalware Free.
You may be presented with a User Account Control dialog asking you if you want to run this program. If this happens, you should click “Yes” to allow Zemana AntiMalware to run.
- When Zemana AntiMalware will start, click on the “Scan” button to perform a system scan.
- Zemana AntiMalware will now scan your computer for malicious programs. This process can take up to 10 minutes.
- When Zemana has finished finished scanning it will show a screen that displays any malware that has been detected. To remove all the malicious files, click on the “Next” button.
Zemana AntiMalware will now start to remove all the malicious programs from your computer. When the process is complete, you can close Zemana AntiMalware and continue with the rest of the instructions.
(OPTIONAL) STEP 5: Double-check for malicious programs with Emsisoft Emergency Kit
The Emsisoft Emergency Kit Scanner includes the powerful Emsisoft Scanner complete with graphical user interface. Scan the infected PC for Viruses, Trojans, Spyware, Adware, Worms, Dialers, Keyloggers and other malicious programs.
- You can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit from the below link.
EMSISOFT EMERGENCY KIT DOWNLOAD LINK (This link will open a new web page from where you can download Emsisoft Emergency Kit)
- Double-click on the “EmsisoftEmergencyKit” icon, then click on the “Extract” button.
- On your desktop you should now have a “Start Extract Emsisoft Emergency Kit” icon, double-click on it, then when the program will start allow it to update its database.
- Once the Emsisoft Emergency Kit has update has completed,click on the “Scan” tab, and perform a “Smart Scan“.
- When the scan will be completed,you will be presented with a screen reporting which malicious files has Emsisoft detected on your computer, and you’ll need to click on Quarantine selected objects to remove them.
(OPTIONAL) STEP 6: Reset your browser to default settings
This step should be performed only if your issues have not been solved by the previous steps.
Reset Google Chrome
Google Chrome has an option that will reset itself to its default settings. Resetting your browser settings will reset the unwanted changes caused by installing other programmes. However, your saved bookmarks and passwords will not be cleared or changed.
- Click on Chrome’s main menu button, represented by three horizontal lines. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings.
- Chrome’s Settings should now be displayed in a new tab or window, depending on your configuration. Next, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Show advanced settings link (as seen in the below example).
- Chrome’s advanced Settings should now be displayed. Scroll down until the Reset browser settings section is visible, as shown in the example below. Next, click on the Reset browser settings button.
- A confirmation dialog should now be displayed, detailing the components that will be restored to their default state should you continue on with the reset process. To complete the restoration process, click on the Reset button.
Reset Internet Explorer
You can reset Internet Explorer settings to return them to the state they were in when Internet Explorer was first installed on your PC.
- Open Internet Explorer, click on the “gear icon” in the upper right part of your browser, then click again on Internet Options.
- In the “Internet Options” dialog box, click on the “Advanced” tab, then click on the “Reset” button.
- In the “Reset Internet Explorer settings” section, select the “Delete personal settings” check box, then click on “Reset” button.
- When Internet Explorer has completed its task, click on the “Close” button in the confirmation dialogue box. You will now need to close your browser, and then you can open Internet Explorer again.
Reset Mozilla Firefox
If you’re having problems with Firefox, resetting it can help. The reset feature fixes many issues by restoring Firefox to its factory default state while saving your essential information like bookmarks, passwords, web form auto-fill information, browsing history and open tabs.
- In the upper-right corner of the Firefox window, click the Firefox menu button (), then click on the “Help” () button.
- From the Help menu, choose Troubleshooting Information.
If you’re unable to access the Help menu, type about:support in your address bar to bring up the Troubleshooting information page.
- Click the “Refresh Firefox” button in the upper-right corner of the “Troubleshooting Information” page.
- To continue, click on the “Refresh Firefox” button in the new confirmation window that opens.
- Firefox will close itself and will revert to its default settings. When it’s done, a window will list the information that was imported. Click on the “Finish“.