Malware is designed to invade privacy, steal information, damage the operating system, or allow hackers to take control of a computer. It is important that you protect computers and mobile devices using reputable antivirus software.
This is the seven-step best practice procedure for malware-removal:
1. Identify and research malware symptoms
2. Quarantine the infected systems
3. Disable System Restore (in Windows)
4. Remediate infected systems
5. Schedule scans and run updates
6. Enable System Restore and create restore points (in Windows)
7. Educate the end user
Today, antivirus programs are commonly referred to as anti-malware programs because many of them can also detect and block Trojans, rootkits, ransomware, spyware, keyloggers, and adware programs, as shown in Figure 1.
Anti-malware programs are the best line of defense against malware because they continuously look for known patterns against a database of known malware signatures. They can also use heuristic malware identification techniques which can detect specific behavior associated with some types of malware.
Anti-malware programs are started when a computer boots checking the system resources, drives, and memory for malware. It then runs continuously in the background scanning for malware signatures. When a virus is detected, the anti-malware software displays a warning similar as shown in the figure. It may automatically quarantine or delete the malware depending on software settings.
Anti-malware programs are available for Windows, Linux, and macOS by many reputable security organizations such as McAfee, Symantec (Norton), Kaspersky, Trend Micro, Bitdefender and more.
Note: Using two or more anti-malware solutions simultaneously can negatively impact computer performance.
The most common method of malware delivery is through email. Email filters are a line of defense against email threats, such as spam, viruses, and other malware, by filtering email messages before they reach the user’s inbox. File attachments can also be scanned before they are opened.
Email filtering is available on most email applications or it can be installed at the organization’s email gateway. In addition to detecting and filtering out spam messages, email filters also allow the user to create blacklists of known spammer domains and to whitelist known trusted or safe domains.
Malware can also be delivered through applications that are installed. Installation of software from untrusted sources can lead to the spread of malware such as Trojans. To mitigate this risk vendors implement various methods to restrict the ability of users to install untrusted software. Windows uses the system of Administrator and Standard user accounts along with User Account Control.(UAC) and system policies to help prevent installation of untrusted software.
Be cautious of malicious rogue antivirus products that may appear while browsing the Internet. Most of these rogue antivirus products display an ad or pop-up that looks like an actual Windows warning window, as shown in Figure 2. They usually state that the computer is infected and must be cleaned. Clicking anywhere inside the window may begin the download and installation of the malware.
When faced with a warning window that is suspect, never click inside the warning window. Close the tab or the browser to see if the warning window goes away. If the tab or browser does not close, press ALT+F4 to close the window or use the task manager to end the program. If the warning window does not go away, scan the computer using a known, good antivirus or adware protection program to ensure that the computer is not infected.
Click here to read a blog about rogue antivirus malware.
In Linux, users are prompted if they attempt to install untrusted software. The software is signed with a cryptographic private key and requires the public key for the repository to install the software. 4
Mobile OS vendors use the walled garden model to prevent installation of untrusted software. Under this model, apps are distributed from an approved store, such as the App Store for Apple or the Windows Store for Microsoft.
There are 2 figures on the page. Figure 1: The image shows the Microsoft Security Essentials program window with a completed scan of a PC and the potential threat details window showing a detected item classified as HackerTool:Win32/Keygen. Figure 2: the image shows what appears as a Windows Security Alert but is actually a rogue antivirus program trojan horse.