How to Remove Spyware & Malware from a Computer

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and extensive experience working in the business world as Director of Marketing and Business Development at a financial advice firm.

Given the fact that you bought a computer to run your programs, you probably don't want much else running on it, especially if those other programs will do you harm!

Spyware and Malware

Given all the information that is kept on computers, it is no wonder that less law-abiding people would want to gain access to some of it. From your financial information to sensitive files about your personal life, there are plenty of reasons that would motivate someone who tries to gain access to what you do on your devices. Any program that gains access to your information without your permission is called spyware. Additionally, there are also plenty of reasons to try to infect as many machines as possible - for the purposes of snooping or just sheer destruction. These programs are called malware.

Why Remove It?

Obviously, you are going to want to get rid of any spyware or malware that presents itself on your computer or phone. Your information is just that, yours, and is not to be shared with anyone else.

Even beyond that, if you had no sensitive information on your computer, there are still plenty of reasons to remove malware or spyware. They can slow your computer down considerably, meaning that your applications are less efficient. Also, many of them are designed to spread to other systems - this means that even if nothing you use is valuable enough to care about, you could be putting the information of others at risk. Simply put, it is best to remove it.

Anti-Malware Programs

Luckily, there are a number of programs that exist to help you get rid of malware or spyware. However, you would be wise to be careful as to which of these to use - sometimes, malware can present itself under the guise of trying to be helpful! For this reason, it is best to thoroughly research any program before downloading it through a multitude of consumer sites.

Once you have decided on a program to use, the steps to follow are often pretty self-explanatory. You may find it beneficial to run the anti-malware program multiple times. Also, be sure to restart your computer immediately before running it - in fact, you may even consider disconnecting your device from the internet to make sure that there is not an opportunity for a file to redownload itself until the sweep is complete. Above all else, make sure that you are using the latest version of your anti-malware program.

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