Have you ever been in a situation where it seems you have “solved” your malware issues and your computer seems fine? But for whatever reason it seems as though that pesky malware (along with some of its friends) have found their way back onto your computer, causing mayhem.
Why does malware keep coming back anyway? I mean, what causes this nightmare to keep reoccurring?
That can sometimes remain a mystery, as viruses and malware tend to duplicate themselves while on your computer. But instead of focusing on the problem, I’ll offer you a few solutions to keep malware off your computer for good.
So let’s get comfortable and dive in. I’ll keep it simple, so you’re able to easily digest the information.
Getting Rid of All Malware
First, let’s start with the anti-virus that you already have installed on your computer. If you don’t have an anti-virus or anti-malware application installed on your computer, get one. If you’re running Windows 10 or later, by default Windows comes with a built-in anti-virus called Microsoft Windows Defender.
As far as getting a third-party application, I recommend Malwarebytes, particularly if you’re dealing with malware. I did a full product review on Malwarebytes in my last article, so be sure to go and check that out.
Once you have an antivirus application installed, ensure that it’s fully up to date with the latest virus definitions.
Next, do a full system scan to find and destroy any malware that’s found on your system. It’s good practice to do multiple scans just to be thorough. It may take longer than you would want, but a few extra scans can really make a difference. You’d be surprised by how many more malware and viruses are found during the second or third scan.
I usually keep scanning until no more malware is found.
There can be occasions where the particular anti-virus application you’re using is not resolving the issue, and you may have to get another application. This is why I recommend Malwarebytes. It can find and remove malware and viruses most other anti-virus applications can’t. Malwarebytes is pretty thorough and can go the distance with removing most if not all your malware.
You can do a free trial for 14 days, and see the difference yourself.
Another cool trick that I’ve used that sometimes works to rid my system of malware is to do a system restore. This is bringing your computer back to an earlier date before your computer was infected.
To do this, running Windows 10 or 11, do the following:
- Click on Start and search for Control Panel (I do it the old school way).
- Click to open Control Panel, when its opens, and click System and Security in the upper left corner.
- On the next screen, click on System (third option down).
- Now you’re brought into the Settings screen for Windows. From here, go and click the Advanced System Settings under Device Specifications (top portion of the page over on the right column).
- The System Properties windows should open up. Click on the System Protection tab.
- Check to see if you have a restore point already created. If so, you can go ahead and restore your computer to an earlier date, by clicking on System Restore. In my case, it’s greyed out, with means I don’t have any restore points created. You can always manually create one (which I would recommend) if Windows didn’t already create one for you.
Try it and see if this helped to get rid of your malware. If it does, install an application that can remove the malware head-on, in case the issue does come back.
How To Stop Malware?
This section ties into the previous section as it relates to the types of tools needed to prevent or stop malware from infecting your computer.
As I mentioned earlier, Windows Defender does a decent job of protecting your computer, but it’s not a bad idea to consider other 3rd party applications, such as Norton, AVG, or McAfee. Those are the more common ones that everyone knows about.
However, our recommended anti-virus and anti-malware software to use, as I mentioned earlier is Malwarebytes. It can find and eliminate most viruses and malware most other software programs in its class can’t.
User Input Prevention
This is more of what you can do to prevent becoming a victim of malware infection. You know what they say, prevention is better than cure. So I’d like you to be a bit more proactive with the following:
- Data backup: This I will list first because it’s so important. Ensure that you have some sort of regular backup that you’re carrying out. Preferably in the cloud, so you can get access to it from anywhere, but if you can do local (an external hard drive, stored somewhere safe) that’s at least a start. In the event that your system is compromised by a really bad virus, malware, and even ransomware, you can at least rebuild using your backup if you need to.
- Firewall: This is usually taken care of by whatever anti-virus program you’re using. Just verify that your firewall is active and running and wasn’t disabled for whatever reason.
- Beware of suspicious websites: With the convenience of online shopping these days, purchasing goods and services online has become somewhat second nature for us all. It has also made us easy targets to be scammed and get hacked. Be vigilant that whatever website you are shopping from that it is a legitimate and trustworthy website. This is one of the easiest ways for you to get infected with malware. I’ll talk more about suspicious sites in the next section.
- Pay attention to your email: This is another easy one that people fall for. They click on a link from an email they received from someone posing to be a credible source. Only to find out that person was a scammer of some kind. This is called phishing. If you’re not sure about the source, DON’T click on it.
Taking these steps will change your mindset from why malware keep coming back to what can I do to ensure that malware doesn’t come back.
How To Know if a Site is Suspicious?
One of the first give away here is to ensure that you’re going to a secure website. The way in which you can determine this, is to check for the “HTTPS://” which usually comes before the www. If the site is missing that “S”, and only has “HTTP”, you may want to think twice before interacting with that website.
Another good giveaway here is if you’re getting a message from your browser stating that your connection is not secure. Although this one is a dead giveaway, there are some exceptions.
Here’s what I mean.
As a tech guy, I’ve actually seen this error before when attempting to troubleshoot a router, using its web interface. In such a case, I would sometimes receive this error message. Because I knew that I was going into a router for troubleshooting purposes, I proceeded to interact with the site.
In your case, if you know the site you’re going to is legit because you’ve either interacted with it in the past, or you’ve verified it with someone you trust, then it’s fine to proceed. Just make sure to do your due diligence and verify the site’s integrity. If you’re not sure, ask a local tech person that you know. Heck…Google it if you need to.
Another important tip to pay attention to, is to check out the domain for yourself. What do I mean?
Well, every website has a root domain (i.e. www.site.com), and it should take you to their homepage. So what you can do here is open another tab on your browser…better yet open an Incognito (Google Chrome) or Inprivate (Microsoft Edge) window so it cannot be tracked and manually type in that root domain and see where it takes you.
If the homepage looks genuine and it checks out well, like having an HTTPS://, and even a security lock next to the URL (indicating that the site is secure), then ok proceed. If not, then high tail out of there don’t look back!
Consider Your Options
It’s really hard to pinpoint for sure why malware keeps coming back after you’ve removed them from your computer. But being proactive like I’ve shown you in this article will definitely help to ensure that they stay removed.
Also, don’t forget to check out my review of Malwarebytes, as I know it will help big time to get your malware infections under control.