Digital Hygiene ๐Ÿงผ

How to get rid of malware: What you need to know

Trying to get rid of malware on your Mac, PC, iPhone or Android? Follow these steps.

Malware can cause chaos inside your computer. Follow these steps on how to get rid of malware on nearly any device. It’s neither foolproof nor permanent, but you have to try to keep these terrible programs off your devices!

The term, which is short for malicious software, refers to many types of software or programs that make their way inside your system to steal your information, your data, secretly use your system or even destroy the computer itself.

Unfortunately, malware can be tricky to catch and, like packet sniffing, often runs unsuspectingly in the background of computers.

This type of software can affect nearly any type of device and is often used by hackers to hold companies or individuals ransom.

If you happen to have malware on your computer or suspect you do, follow this guide on how to get rid of malware.

Related: Remove yourself from the internet with these 5 tools

What is malware?

There are many types of malware ranging from spyware to ransomware to Trojans, and they are all unwanted and enter unsuspecting computers in sneaky ways.

The software is usually created by a team of hackers or a solo hacker.

More recently, malware has grown in complexity and led to some of the most significant data breaches affecting millions of people.

What are the main types of malware?

The main types of malware include:

  • viruses
  • spyware
  • trojans
  • ransomware
  • worms
  • adware

These intruders can delete or corrupt files, create backdoors to your computer or phoneโ€™s security, spy on your keystrokes in the background to steal passwords or bank information, hold your computer and files ransom by locking them or simply cause a ton of popups to appear on your computer.

How do you know if you have malware?

Some of the indicators that you may have malware on your system:

  • Your system keeps crashing
  • You suddenly donโ€™t have as much disk space as you should
  • Your computer is painstakingly slow
  • Your browser settings change / new browser extensions appear
  • Your screen is flooded with ads and popups
  • You canโ€™t access some files

How to remove malware on Mac

Although Macs are not infected as frequently as PCs by malware, they are not immune. 

The best way to remove malware on Mac is by using a malware detection and deletion program such as Malwarebytes. 

The first step is to download Malwarebytes and decide whether you wish to use a free or paid premium version. The program, which is highly rated by independent review publications, scams macs for malware and removes it for free. 

The premium version has an addon that continuously monitors your Mac for things such as malware and spyware and will act quickly to make sure they canโ€™t do significant damage.

Malwarebytes offers a 30-day free trial and then is $8.33 per month after.

Once you have downloaded the program, follow these steps:

1. Disconnect your computer from the internet

2. Enter Safe Mode by first restarting your Mac and while it is restarting, press and hold the Shift key. You can release Shift when you see the login window.

3. Open Activity Monitor and check for malicious programs or applications. To enter the activity monitor, open the Finder, click Applications, then Utilities and finally Activity Monitor.

4. Check for applications that are using a significant amount of the computer and check for any suspicious applications.

5. If you are confident, delete the program.

6. At this point you should run Malwarebytes and remove any detected malware.

7. Clear your browser cache. If you are using Chrome, select Chrome followed by History and then Clear Browsing Data. Select Time Range and All Time followed by Clear Data.

How to remove malware from PC

PCs can harbor more malware than Macs and can be a bit more difficult to deal with in removing them. Follow these steps to remove malware from a pc.

1. Download a reputable malware removal program. Some of the more respected programs include Bitdefender Total Security, Kaspersky Anti-Virus and Malwarebytes.

2. Enter Safe Mode on the PC by restarting the computer and holding the Shift key when you see the sign-in screen. Next select Power and then Restart. After the computer restarts, select Troubleshoot, followed by Advanced Options and Startup Settings.

3. Click Restart and from the following menu, 4 to start in Safe Mode.

4. Check for any malicious activity in Safe Mode by seeing what programs are using up chunks of the CPU. If any look suspicious, take note.

5. Run your malware software of choice and follow the instructions to delete whatever is found.

6. Clear your browser cache. If you are using Chrome, select Chrome followed by History and then Clear Browsing Data. Select Time Range and All Time followed by Clear Data.

How to remove malware on Android

If you suspect your Android device, either smartphone or tablet, has been infected by malware, turn it off to prevent further damage. Some of the most obvious signs are a slow system, glitches or popups.

1. Power down. Once you have turned off the phone take a minute or two to think about what may have brought malware onto the device. Did you download a suspicious app recently? Click on a link that may have been a phishing attempt?

2. Switch to Safe Mode by holding down the power button when the device is already on and then tap and hold the power off. Choose the Reboot in safe mode from the options.

3. Navigate to Settings, which is usually a gear-shaped icon, and click on apps.

4. From his section, select App Manager to view the list of all apps on the device.

5. Find the app you suspect may have brought the malware onto the device and select Uninstall. 

How to remove malware on iPad

Getting a bad case of malware on an iPad is relatively uncommon, but it can happen. If you suspect your device has been impacted, follow these steps to remove the malware and free your iPad.

Most malware is caught by the Apple App Store before it can enter your iPad, but follow these steps to clear other sorts of malware such as adware or spyware.

1. Open Settings.

2. Click Safari.

3. Click Clear History and Website Data.

4. Confirm and click Clear.

To further remove malware follow these steps to update your device. You want to keep your software updated, as Apple regularly updates its software to remove and prevent malware issues.

1.Open Settings.

2. Click General.

3. Click Software Update.

4. Run the update.

You can also select the option to keep your device updated automatically. That’s recommended!

How to remove malware on iPhone

Malware is incredibly uncommon on iPhones, but in case adware snuck onto your phone, follow these steps to remove it.

1. Clear your browsing history by navigating to Settings, followed by Safari and Clear History and Website data.

2. If you use another browser, follow the same steps and select the browser you use after Settings.

Another method is to restart your iPhone from a previous backup version. 

If all else fails, the best bet is to reset all content and settings. To do so, you will need to erase all content from your phone. 

1. Select Settings and then General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.

Be proactive in preventing malware

The best way to prevent malware from wrecking hacov on your computer and possibly your life is to be proactive.

Be sure you are using secure authentication methods such as two factor authentication and strong passwords. 

Keep your software updated, whether it’s a Mac, PC, Android or iPhone. Always install software updates as quickly as possible. You may also want to try these privacy apps for Android or privacy apps for iOS.

Another tip: Keep your eyes out for phishing attempts by verifying that any link you click has the URL of the website it says it is. Oftentimes, hackers will purchase URLs that are similar but off by one letter. They can then abuse your trust and hack your computer!

If you think you’ve been hacked, here’s what to do if your identity is stolen.