Imagine this scenario: your computer is running slower than usual or the operating system is displaying random errors. It may happen that your web browser freezes, struggling to get rid of strange advertisements. You may even be unable to access your documents. As a result, you are likely to suffer from a digital infection that prevents the regular use of your computer. In addition, it is likely to put your data, files, and perhaps something else at risk. For example, passwords and access to digital banking. It is best to be able to have options to remove malware.
Viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malicious specimens stalk computers and computer networks. Lately we suffer the introduction of malware of all types and for all platforms. In addition to data theft, cyber espionage and invasion of privacy. There has also been an increase in disinformation campaigns that end up posing an online risk. All this forces users and companies to take proactive measures to control them.
Major cybersecurity incidents highlight the fact that digital threats are becoming more and more dangerous. Indeed, they continue to increase in number and in the sophistication of their developments. Moreover, the situation is not going to improve as the industry continues to add billions of connected devices. Nor is it good news that phenomena such as BYOD and the hybrid work that is here to stay in the wake of the pandemic are increasing the number of vulnerable devices.
How to remove malware from your PC
Certainly, prevention is the first and foremost line of defense. However, it is not always possible to stay safe from infection. Additionally, any user will have had problems with malware at some point. Even if you have not been alerted by your security solution. If your personal computer has any of the symptoms, it’s time to take action immediately. Take a look at these 4 concrete steps as described below.
Attempts to save files
Backup copies are the greatest lifesaver to counteract any type of computer virus. Sometimes, even with some of them, such as Ransomware, they are the only solution. If you have not done it previously, you can try to save documents, photos, videos. In addition to any other type of personal or professional information that you cannot lose even if they are infected. Afterwards, you can try to recover them later on a clean system.
This group includes the most difficult ones, which will be those infected by the aforementioned Ransomware. Let’s remember that these usually involve encrypted files. So, you will be able to recover them when decryption tools are released. Of course, the goal is only to copy the files to a controlled external drive. Certainly, we should not run any of these files until they are cleaned because they can infect other computers.
To make these copies, we can use several methods. If you use Windows, it has a safe mode, also called Safe Mode or Advanced Boot. In this mode, it loads only the most basic drivers and services. Additionally, it is useful for finding and solving operating system problems that are not possible to fix in a standard boot. This is because this is where malicious code is typically loaded.
Disinfect the computer
Once we have tried to secure our essential files, it is time to start disinfection. However, it should be noted that this is not always possible, depending on the malware in question. There are times when there will be no choice but to perform a clean installation of the entire system and applications.
In cases of suspicion, the best option to remove malware from the PC is to use specialized antivirus rescue disks. This is an effective means. Indeed, a large majority of malware is loaded/hidden in memory, complicating its detection/removal once the operating system is booted.
Its operation is simple, just boot the computer with the created ransomware media. All will update the virus signature. Then, the program will start scanning and disinfecting the malware. From the file explorer of the Live CD, we will also be able to access the drive where the main system is installed. Useful if we want to delete a file. Also, we will be able to directly make the security copies that we saw in the previous section of the essential files.
If the malware cleanup was effective, remove the rescue disk and try booting the computer as usual. If possible, install the best security solution available to you. Then check it again for viruses. There is also a good collection of very comprehensive free or commercial solutions here. If the system boots normally, check if all the applications you have installed are working properly. Also, drivers and drivers. Even if the operating system is clean and working, there may be damage.
It may happen that despite the above efforts, we have not been able to kill the infection. Consequently, the only thing left to do is to reinstall the operating system. It is possible that we have a recovery partition or system disks. Such as those offered by some manufacturers in their new equipment. In such a case, it will be the first thing to use to revert the equipment to its factory state.
We will be able to restore the operating system to factory settings using the same operating system tool. It is also a good option to use restore points. These are another simple alternative to using backups or a fresh installation. If none of the above works, it is time to perform a clean installation of the entire system. With this in mind, we will format the partition to make sure that the computer is virus free.
Finally, you can recover your data and applications. However, it is very advisable to thoroughly scan and disinfect the data files that you had previously backed up beforehand. Make sure they are clean before copying them back to your computer. Indeed, they could be the cause of the infection, and you may have to repeat the whole process again. It includes the revision of external USB units, another frequent way of virus camouflage.
Prevents further damage
The system partition is now clean. However, we must also check the rest of the partitions and the entire local network. Indeed, the virus could have arrived that way and re-infected the computer. You can check this with the rescue disks created earlier. In addition, you can also try with a security solution installed on the computer. Keep in mind that nowadays, it is difficult to keep a personal computer clean without any additional protection. If you use Windows, it is advisable to at least use Microsoft’s Defender, which is installed by default.
It is also advisable to change passwords. A good part of current malware infects computers with the aim of obtaining access passwords. It is not unlikely that they are in the hands of third parties, even if your system is clean. Therefore, after an infection, it is highly recommended to change them. Particularly, the local ones for authentication in the operating system to those used in Internet services. Especially those for financial services or e-commerce. Great way to remove malware.
Finally, take care of your cybersecurity
Insist on prevention as the first and main line of defense. With this in mind, it is necessary to observe due caution in the websites we browse. We should also check the applications we install. Even the reception of e-mails and attachments. In the same way, we have to check the downloads or the use of social networks. It is necessary to look at the essential update of the operating system and applications or the use of a good security solution.
We ask you to be extremely careful with Ransomware and Phishing. They are undoubtedly the two most used and dangerous types of attack at the client computer level. Most infections occur because the user opens a malicious application or program. Let’s remember that it can come from any source. Especially the usual ones such as a web browser (displaying adware, redirection to a malicious website… ). It is also plausible that the email that instead of being attached includes a link to Mega, Google Drive or Dropbox that leads to malware or messaging services in the case of mobile attacks, increasingly widespread.
A common feature of all Ransomware is that they block the operation of computers. To do this, they take over files with strong encryption and demand a ransom amount of money from the organization, company, or user to release them. The big problem is that once infected, there is no solution unless that particular type has been decrypted. The worst thing is that this usually takes years to happen and file recovery is complex. It is common to see it combined with phishing attacks. This is the second major threat and one for which extreme caution should also be exercised. Okay, so we’ve seen a few ways to remove malware.