hazard symbol for malware infectionMalware! Technically malware is a term to describe almost every type of infection you can get on your computer. Like I have said, for this guide, malware will be any program that comes infected. Malware infections are very common on computers that are brought into my shop.

Malware are programs that come with ‘built-in’ infections; meaning that just by installing the software, you have allowed a virus onto your computer. The most common sources of malware are free programs from companies that you have never really heard of. The other big source of malware is from websites that tell you that your flash player is out of date, but we’ll talk more on this later.

There is good news though! Malware is pretty easily avoided if you follow a few steps and keep an eye out for some common signs. The thing about malware is that you have to choose to have it installed on your computer, so as long as you don’t install programs, you are pretty much home free.

Unknown Software Publishers

The #1 rule of thumb for avoiding malware is to avoid software from unknown companies. Software from companies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are usually safe to us. The companies you need to really worry about are the ones whose name is not recognized. If you feel that you need to install a program from a developer that you are not familiar with then the first thing you should do is a simple Google search of a company; look for reviews from customers before you do anything. If there are limited or no reviews, avoid the software!

If there seems to be a good customer atmosphere online about a particular software, you should be safe downloading and installing it. I want to make note again that torrenting software can easily have malware built into it, so get it from legitimate and legal sources.

Your adobe flash player is out of date

This message is the bane of most people who own a computer. Websites with this message will most often tell you that you are out of date and in order to watch the funny/porn video you must update your flash. If you see this message, especially if it is new, immediately go to http://helpx.adobe.com/flash-player.html and it will let you know if your flash player is up to date. If flash is up to date, leave the other site quickly, it has malware. If you flash is out of date you can update it at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.