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21 December 2021
Hyperoptic Team

How to prevent and get rid of malware

Malware is a common problem experienced by many of us. But what is malware and how can you get rid of it?

In this article, we’ve explored what malware is, what it does, and provided common examples, as well as highlighting the best types of malware detection and malware protection.

What is malware?

Malware (short for malicious software) is a common threat in the digital space, and can threaten anyone from businesses to individuals. The software is used to conduct cyber attacks and is generally installed unwittingly by the victim. Infections can be found across computers, smart phones, and even internet of things technology.

What does malware do?

Once malware has infected a device, it can:

  • Steal or delete sensitive information (including personal or payment details)
  • Encrypt your computer’s data
  • Monitor device activity
  • Introduce spam

Different types of malware

There are different types of malware used by hackers, with the most common examples outlined below.


A malware virus alters the way your computer works, and will spread quickly across your system and programs, multiplying and infecting along the way. The malware virus will usually attempt to steal personal information.


Similar to a malware virus, a worm will multiply across your system, infecting your computer, damaging your device, and compromising system resources and files.


Named after the famous trojan horse, this type of malware attack will masquerade as legitimate software. Meanwhile, in the background, it will be maliciously stealing sensitive data, infecting your computer, and damaging your device.


Rather than initiating a malware attack, adware will typically start showing victims spammy ads that are difficult to close. This can be frustrating, and some banners or pop-ups can lead to further damage if clicked.


Ransomware is a malware attack that involves stealing and encrypting your personal data, and blocking access to it until you pay a ransom fee. This has become one of the more common types of malware experienced by victims.


If your computer or device is infected with spyware, you’ll unfortunately fall victim to data theft, as the hacker secretly tracks your password, payment information, and online activity.


A botnet malware attack involves ‘bots’ infecting an entire network of computers or devices. The attacker will then distribute scam emails, initiate mass phishing, or overwhelm websites with large amounts of fake traffic (called a Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS).


As the name suggests, rogueware is a type of malware attack you should really be careful about. It triggers malware detection on your device, but only actually infects your computer after you click a fake warning or banner notification.

How to prevent malware

There are various types of malware to be aware of, but how can you protect yourself against them? We’ve outlined the simple steps you can follow to prevent or mitigate the damage of a malware attack.

Anti-virus software

One of the simplest ways to protect against malware virus attacks is to install anti-virus software. This constantly scans for threats, monitors your device for any malicious software, and removes any present danger.

Only download trusted apps

Whenever you download an app to your device, take steps to ensure it’s from a trusted source. This means checking the name of the distributor and any other apps they’ve published. You should also go through any reviews; if anyone else has been infected, you’ll want to know about it!

Avoid suspicious ads, links, and banners

As a rule of thumb, avoid clicking on unfamiliar or suspicious links, ads, or banners, as this is one of the easiest ways for hackers to infiltrate and launch a malware attack. The hacker will often lead you to a fake website that prompts you to input sensitive information such as payment data.

Update your software regularly

A simple step to prevent falling victim to a malware attack is to regularly update your software and apps (if they’re not on auto-update). This ensures there aren’t any easy access points through outdated vulnerabilities.

Install a firewall

A firewall is put in place to block unauthorised access to your private network of devices. It’s a great way to boost malware protection, and can be used alongside anti-virus software.

Enable multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication, often also referred to as two-factor authentication, is an additional layer of security for your logins, and means a hacker won’t be able to infect your device or software with just your password. Options range from a PIN or security question to facial or finger print recognition.

Back up your data

It’s important to make sure that you’re regularly backing up your data to a secure location, in the event of a ransomware malware attack. This will limit the damage and mean you’re in a stronger position to refuse the ransom.

How to get rid of malware

Fortunately, if you’ve already fallen victim to a malware attack, there are some ways to get rid of the infection. The best malware removal methods to follow are:

  1. Disconnect from the internet

Disconnecting from the internet prevents any further damage to your network or device, by stopping any more data from being processed. Try to stay offline as much as possible if you believe you’ve been compromised.

  1. Put your device into safe mode

Safe mode means your device is using as little software or programs as possible to run effectively. This limits the entry points for a malware attack, making it easier to remove the infection.

  1. Run a malware scanner

A scanner is effective against the most common types of malware, and is a perhaps the best malware removal tool at your disposal. If you already run anti-virus software, though, and have still fallen victim, make sure to download a different, more reliable malware scanner.

  1. Clear your cache

If you’ve accidentally and unknowingly been infected by malware as a result of a link you clicked on or a website you visited, a quick way to prevent further attacks is to clear your cache. This quickly removes potentially infected data from your device.

For more insightful articles centred around cyber security and digital protection, head over to our blog. Additionally, explore the benefits of hyperfast broadband that puts your safety first.

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