How to prevent and remove viruses and malware?

How to prevent and remove viruses and malware?

What is a computer virus?

A computer virus is a piece of code, which is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data. A virus operates by inserting or attaching itself to a legitimate program or document that supports macros to execute its code. In the process, a circus has the potential to cause unexpected or damaging effects, such as harming the system software by corrupting or destroying data.

 

What is a worm?

It is a computer code that spreads without user interaction. The worm looks for files, like address books or email addresses. Then it uses those addresses to send infected messages further on by mimicking the email it came from, so users think they got an email from someone they know. They very rarely are destructive to computers, but usually, cause computer and network performance and stability problems.

 

What is a Trojan horse?

A Trojan horse is a malicious software program that hides inside other problems. Trojan horses find their way into computers hidden inside a legitimate program, like for example screen saver. It then puts a code in the computer, which allows a hacker to access the computer or laptop. They don’t spread by themselves, but with the help of viruses, worms or like mentioned above the downloaded software.

 

What is spyware?

Spyware usually installs on your computer without you even knowing and is capable of changing the configuration of the computer or collect advertising data and personal information. It can redirect you to advertising sites, distasteful or compromised sites and even sending you unwanted and annoying pop-up ads. Very often changes made by the spyware are very hard to undo.

 

Now that we have some basics on what malware is and its types, how do you remove it?

Removing any malware can be a difficult task, but not impossible. The best way is to use malicious software removal tools. Some of the viruses and malware can reinstall itself after the first one was detected and removed. One way to prevent it is by keeping your computer up to date and using malicious software removal tools, which eventually will permanently remove all the unwanted programs. Microsoft also offers guidance and help to fight the malware on your device.

Prevention methods?

  1. The first and most obvious way is to install anti-virus/malware software.
  2. Keep the anti-virus program up to date.
  3. Regularly scan your device with anti-virus software.
  4. The operating system such as Windows should also be kept up to date at all times.
  5. Make sure your network (Wi-Fi) requires a password to keep it safe.
  6. Don’t use open unsecured Wi-Fis, which are very likely to infect your device as they are not protected by anyone.
  7. Always back-up your files.
  8. Use strong passwords.

 

 

Other types of malware in a nutshell:

  • Ransomware, which is designed to encrypt the data and cybercriminals then demand a ransom payment in exchange for the system’s data.
  • Rootkit gives administrator-level access to the system.
  • Adware collects data and provides you with appropriate advertisements.
  • Fileless malware lives in the memory if the computer, which makes it a lot harder to detect it as it doesn’t exist in a file on the hard drive.

Windows 7 End of Life

When Windows 7 support ends and what it means?

Microsoft has officially announced the End of Extended Support date for Windows 7. On 14th of January 2020 the company will stop updating and supporting the operating system.

Microsoft is trying to encourage all Windows 7 users to update their operating system before that date comes. To do so there will be an update released, which will send notifications reminding about upgrading to Windows 10.   Windows 7 has been on an ‘extended support’ phase since 13th of January 2015. That means that no more new features have been added with the updates though it has still been patched and updated to fix all security issues and bugs. From the 14th of January 2020 the operating system will continue to work, so all its users will still be able to use their PC’s as normal, although with much increased risk to their safety. When the End of Life date arrives, all support and updates from Microsoft will come to an end, which means PC’s with Windows 7 will be very vulnerable to new viruses and malicious attacks. It also means that if anyone encounters problems, Microsoft won’t offer any help and support.

What should you do if you still use Windows 7?

The most obvious and simple option is to upgrade your system to Windows 10. It means that you and your employees will experience least disruption. Both Operating Systems are really similar in layout and interface, so everyone should also find it easy to adjust. The updating process is fairly straightforward and allows you to keep all the files, although Microsoft still recommends to make a backup just in case.

Upgrading to Windows 10 might not be the right solution for some users as it requires buying the license, which can be quite expensive (£105+vat for the Home Edition and £180.00+vat for Windows 10 Professional for business users). Even though Microsoft have done a lot of work on making Windows 10 being able to run on older hardware, it’s still not guaranteed that your older PC or laptop won’t struggle with new update. In addition you will need to make sure any existing software and peripherals will be compatible with Windows 10.

Our recommended specification for Windows 10 would be:

  • Processor: Intel i5 or AMD A10 or better
  • RAM: 8 gigabytes (GB)
  • Hard disk space:  128 GB for the OS but we would recommend 256Mb minimum for a light user.
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.
  • Display: minimum 800 x 600 resolution

If you want to upgrade to Windows 10, but don’t have the required minimum specification you may be able to upgrade your PC, though it may be more cost effective to look at replacing it with a new unit. The team at ACS Technologies are more than happy to recommend the right machine for you, whatever your budget and requirements!

 

What to do when you decide on upgrading to Windows 10?

Any upgrade should be planned, whether you have 1 PC or laptop or are looking to upgrade the whole Company’s infrastructure. Firstly, you will need to make sure your hardware and any associated software and peripherals are compatible.  You should make sure that all of your documents are safely backed up before starting any updates. Even though transferring your files is part of the process in the upgrade, you never know when something might go wrong and you’ll lose all your data. And we don’t want that to happen, right?

Our engineers at ACS Technologies can make your switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10 easy and hassle-free.  Contact our friendly team to discuss our current hardware offers and how we can help you upgrade and stay safe and secure! As well as doing the update itself we can offer training to show you the latest features of your new operating system.

Contact us now via Email sales@acstech.co.uk or telephone 01628819500.

10 tips for laptop users

Today we have gathered 10 tips for laptop users. They should help you maximise the performance and lifespan of your machine!

people, housework, electronics and housekeeping concept – close up of woman hands cleaning laptop computer screen with cloth

  1. When planning to travel with your laptop, remove any CDs, DVDs. It’s best to also turn the laptop off—don’t simply put it in sleep or standby mode.
  2. Extreme temperature or temperature swings can have an effect on a laptop. If you’ve just brought your laptop indoors from a very cold day, you shouldn’t turn it on until it has had a chance to warm up and reach room temperature.
  3. A notebook’s screen is its most fragile and at-risk part, and it can be cracked and damaged easily. Clean it only with approved solutions or monitor wipes. Don’t touch the screen with pens or any pointer that can scratch the surface.
  4. You shouldn’t put a laptop close to appliances that generate a strong magnetic field, such as televisions, large speakers and even some high-tech refrigerators.
  5. Keep the lid closed as often as you can, which helps to limit the amount of dust that can settle on the keyboard, saves battery life and prevents the keyboard from an accidental coffee spill—a leading cause of laptop damage.
  6. Laptops can overheat more easily than a desktop computer can. You shouldn’t keep one on a blanket, pillow or other non-flat surface that could prevent sufficient ventilation.
  7. Be careful where you take your computer and set it down. Again, its portability can work against it. Even if it’s NOT plugged in, you shouldn’t finish your spreadsheet while relaxing in the bathtub!
  8. You should always carry it in a good-quality laptop bag that provides protection against drops and damages. You should also get into the habit of never putting anything on top of it (newspapers, mail), because if it’s on the bottom of a pile, even heavier items—books, backpacks, etc.—could also get piled on.
  9. Set up passwords for access to your laptop (for family members who might also use it). Make sure they do not use “password”, “ABCD” or other simple passwords any thief could guess, in case it’s ever stolen.
  10. Open a personal virtual private network (VPN) account and use it as often as you can in airports, hotels and hotspots in coffeehouses—in other words, anytime you’re plugged in to free Wi-Fi or strange networks. A VPN reroutes your Internet connection to secure networks, where a hacker cannot steal your data.

Hopefully those tips will help some users to keep their machines running for as long as possible and perform at their best.

Please feel free to leave a comment with your tips or what you think!