How to Properly Scan Your Computer for Malware?

Scanning your machine thoroughly and correctly for viruses and other malware such as Trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, worms, and other threats is a common troubleshooting measure. A “basic” virus scan is no longer sufficient.

Many types of malware trigger or disguise themselves as seemingly unrelated Windows and PC issues such as Blue Screens of Death, DLL file issues, crashes, irregular hard drive behaviour, unfamiliar screens or pop-ups, and other severe Windows issues, so it’s critical to thoroughly scan your computer for malware before attempting to resolve many issues.

How to Check for Viruses, Trojans, and Other Malware on Your Computer?

Scanning your computer for viruses and other malware is easy, but it can take several minutes or longer. The longer the scan will take, the more files you have and the slower your machine is.

  1. Run the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool after downloading it.
  2. Depending on whether you’re running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows, you can choose between two versions.
  3. This free malware removal tool from Microsoft won’t find anything, but it will scan for unique, “prevalent malware,” which is a good start.
  4. Your computer’s antivirus/antimalware programme should be updated.
  5. Make sure the virus concepts are up to date before running a full malware/virus scan. These updates instruct your antivirus programme on how to locate and uninstall the most recent viruses from your device.

Perform a full virus scan through your entire device

If you have another non-persistent (not always running) antimalware programme installed, such as SUPERAntiSpyware or Malwarebytes, run it after this.

Can’t access your computer to perform a scan?

It’s likely that your machine has been corrupted to the point where you can’t access the operating system. These are the more dangerous viruses that prevent the operating system from starting, but don’t worry; you still have a couple of choices for getting rid of the infection.

If you’re using Windows, you should try booting into Safe Mode because certain viruses are loaded into memory when the device first starts up. That should avoid any threats from loading when you first log in, allowing you to proceed with the steps above to remove the viruses.

When you don’t have access to Windows, you can use a free bootable antivirus application to search for viruses. These are applications that can scan a hard drive for viruses without having to start the operating system. They run from portable devices such as discs or flash drives.

Help with Virus & Malware Scanning

If you’ve already screened your machine for viruses but think it’s still infected, try a free on-demand virus scanner. When you’re pretty sure your machine still has an infection but your installed antivirus software didn’t catch it, these tools are a great next move.

Another approach you can take is to run an online virus scan using software like VirusTotal or Metadefender, at least if you know what file(s) may be infected. This is less likely to be the solution, but it’s worth a shot as a last resort because it’s free and simple to implement.

If the virus still won’t go away despite our efforts, try disconnecting from the internet so the malware can’t interact with a remote server and infect your machine further. If you do this, make sure to first download and update everything relevant to the antivirus software, and then just disconnect for the duration of the virus scan.

You may have the option of wiping the entire hard drive and starting over with a new operating system, but this can only be done if you are unable to delete the virus from your device. Wiping the hard drive clean would, obviously, delete all of your files. It is, however, a reliable method of removing viruses that do not appear to be cleaned by antivirus software.

Is It Necessary to Make a Backup Before Running Virus Scans?

Backing up your machine before a scan might seem like a good idea. You don’t want your sensitive papers, videos, photographs, and other files to be deleted along with the viruses, after all.

While backing up before a virus scan can be beneficial, be cautious about what you back up. The last thing you want is to save all of your data files in a backup and then delete the viruses, just for them to reappear when you recover!

Unfortunately, you won’t know what’s secure to back up and what’s better left on your machine for the malware scan until you know exactly what’s infected.

You can ensure that the most valuable files are backed up by copying them to an external hard drive or backing them up online, while leaving the rest of your files where they are. In any case, a virus scan alone is unlikely to corrupt your files.

Another approach is to make a backup of everything you want and then run a virus scan on your computer. If something is discovered, make a note of can files are compromised and then uninstall or search the backed up files as well to ensure that the risks have been removed from both the originals and backups.

What Is the Difference Between Malware and a Virus?

The words “virus” and “malware” are often confused. However, since they are functionally distinct, the distinction between malware and viruses is essential.

Malware is a catch-all word for malicious software of some kind, regardless of how it operates, what it’s for, or how it’s spread. A virus is a form of malware that replicates itself by embedding its code into other programmes. Computer viruses have been around almost since the beginning of the commercial internet: the first one was developed for the Apple II in 1982, and subsequent versions soon followed.

Viruses spread through compromised websites, flash drives, and emails by linking themselves to legitimate files and programmes. A virus is activated when a victim opens an infected application or file. A virus may remove or encrypt data, change programmes, or disable system functions once it has been enabled.

There are five different forms of malware.

Malware, in addition to viruses, can infect not only desktops, computers, and servers, but also smartphones. The following are some examples of malware categories:

  1. Worms are a type of worm. A worm is a self-replicating programme that can spread through a network. A worm, unlike a virus, spreads by exploiting a flaw in the infected system or by sending an attachment disguised as a legitimate file via email. As an intellectual exercise, a graduate student developed the first worm (the Morris worm) in 1988. Unfortunately, it rapidly multiplied and distributed across the internet.
  2. Ransomware is a form of ransomware that encrypt Ransomware, as the name suggests, requires users to pay a ransom—usually in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency—in order to regain access to their device. Ransomware is the most recent form of malware, which made headlines in 2016 and 2017 when it encrypted the computer systems of major corporations and thousands of individual users around the world.
  3. Be cautious. Many pc users have come across scareware, which tries to scare the victim into purchasing unwanted software or divulging financial information. Scareware displays flickering images or noisy warnings on a user’s desktop, indicating that the device has been compromised. It normally prompts the user to enter their credit card information and download a phoney antivirus software.
  4. Spyware and adware. Adware sends intrusive ads to users, while spyware gathers information about them invisibly. Spyware can keep track of which websites a user visits, as well as details about the user’s computer system and vulnerabilities in case of a potential attack, as well as the user’s keystrokes. A keylogger is spyware that records keystrokes. Through logging what the user types, keyloggers will steal credit card numbers, passwords, account numbers, and other sensitive information.
  5. Malware that does not need a file. Since fileless malware does not download code onto a device like conventional malware, there is no malware signature for a virus scanner to identify. Instead, fileless malware operates in the memory of the device and can hide in a trusted service, productivity tool, or security programme to avoid detection. Operation RogueRobin, for example, was discovered in July 2018. RogueRobin is spread via email attachments of Microsoft Excel Web Query files. It makes the machine run PowerShell command scripts, allowing an intruder to take control of the device. Since PowerShell is a trusted part of the Microsoft platform, this attack usually goes unnoticed. Any fileless malware is also clickless, which means the victim doesn’t have to click on it to trigger it.

Antivirus and antimalware software

Since there are so many different forms of malware and viruses out there—and cybercriminals are constantly developing new ones—most antimalware and antivirus solutions use several methods to detect and block suspicious files. The following are the four major forms of malware detection:

  1. Scanning based on signatures. This is a popular strategy used by all antimalware services, even free ones. A database of recognised virus signatures is used by signature-based scanners. The scanner’s effectiveness is contingent on the database’s signatures being current.
  2. Heuristic evaluation. This identifies viruses based on their resemblance to other viruses. Rather than looking at the entire signature, it looks at samples of the malware’s core code. Even if a virus is concealed under additional junk code, heuristic scanning will detect it.
  3. Solutions for real-time behavioural monitoring. These are looking for unusual behaviour, such as a programme transmitting gigabytes of data over the network. It stops the operation and looks for the malware that is causing it. This method is useful for detecting malware that isn’t stored in a register.
  4. Analysis in a sandbox. This places suspicious files in a sandbox or protected environment so that they can be enabled and analysed without putting the rest of the network at risk.By upgrading and patching applications and platforms, IT security professionals will strengthen their organization’s malware and virus defences. Patches and updates are particularly important for preventing fileless malware, which exploits programme flaws and is difficult to detect with antimalware.

Similarly, putting in place and promoting data management best practises will help avoid data breaches. Basic best practises for password management and role-based access to data and applications, for example, will reduce the likelihood of a hacker gaining access to a system and restrict the harm that a hacker can do if they do. Employees will also benefit from regular security alerts, which can help them detect possible threats and remind them to practise good security hygiene.

How to Scan Windows 10 PC for Malware

Is your Windows 10 PC running a little slower than usual? Are you seeing new pop-ups that you weren’t seeing before?

If this is the case, you might be dealing with a malware-infected PC. You can do so in a variety of ways. This article will show you how to use Windows 10 to search your computer for malware.

Windows Defender is a programme that protects your computer

The most obvious place to begin is with Windows Defender. It’s not only free, but it’s also included with every copy of Windows 10. It’s also easy to use, making it an excellent option for regular users who won’t venture outside conventional websites.

It searches for threats such as adware, spyware, and viruses. By activating Defender, malicious software will be prevented from causing serious harm.

Activating Windows Defender

Go to the Windows Settings menu. Select Update and Security > Windows Security from the drop-down menu. Select Virus & Threat Security from the Protection Areas drop-down menu.

A new window with a list of protection options will appear. Select Virus & Threat Security from the drop-down menu. Now, under Virus & Threat Protection Settings, select Manage Settings. If Real-Time Protection is currently turned off, go to it and turn it on.

Windows Defender can search your device for malware once it is enabled. Windows Defender in its most recent version is not available on Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Is Windows Defender sufficient?

The short answer is no — at least not if you want a far more reliable solution. As previously mentioned, Defender would suffice for the average user.

However, if we’re talking about pure efficiency, there are third-party solutions that provide more security and can be fine-tuned to meet particular requirements. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a product that we have always recommended.

Malware Detection in Windows 10

Other methods for detecting malware on a Windows 10 device exist. Here are a few examples.

Safe Mode is the default setting.

Safe Mode is a feature on computers. Only the most important programmes are loaded when a computer is started in this mode. Malware isn’t allowed to start. There’s a good chance you have malware if your machine runs faster in Safe Mode.

Go to Start > Power to enter Safe Mode. Click Restart while keeping the Shift key. You should be able to enter Safe Mode after the device reboots.

While in Safe Mode, you want to remove temporary files. Type Disk Cleanup into the search box. It’s a free utility programme that comes with Windows 10. After a short search, this will assist you in removing old files and probably malware.

Scanners from third parties

If your current antivirus software isn’t up to the task, you may want to consider downloading one of the many malware scanners available today.

Some of these options are free, while others will cost you money. There are one-time sales and subscription-based purchases. Some antivirus programmes are more effective than others. Make sure you mount one that comes highly recommended and from a reputable manufacturer.

Configure your browser

Malware has the ability to alter your browser’s settings. Malware, for example, can alter your homepage settings to launch sites that collect information or show advertisements any time you open a browser.

To prevent browsers from launching irritating pages, you can check your settings as soon as possible.

Microsoft Edge is a browser developed by Microsoft.

  1. Go to Settings and More > Settings to adjust Microsoft Edge’s settings. Pick A Specific Page or Pages from the Open Microsoft Edge With drop-down menu.
  2. Examine the URLs in the list and exclude any domains that are unfamiliar.

Chrome is a web browser developed by Google.

  1. Go to Customize > Settings in Google Chrome. Locate On Startup by scrolling down. Select Open a Specific Page or Collection of Pages from the drop-down menu.
  2. Remove any domains that you are unfamiliar with from the list.

Reinstalling Windows on Your Computer

  1. Users are often required to reformat their machines in order to delete malware. However, if it’s still necessary, make a backup of essential files before proceeding.
  2. Select Settings > Update & Security > Recovery from the drop-down menu. Pick Get Started from the Reset This PC menu. Two choices will be given to you.
  3. Keep My Files is a programme that will reformat your machine without removing your files. Remove All does just as it says on the tin: it deletes all files.