Malware is malicious software on your computer, phone or tablet. Malware can take many shapes – from viruses that infect and damage your favorite device, to spyware and adware that track your online activities or share your information with the bad guy.
Here’s how to start the conversation: “When was the last time you updated the anti-virus program on your computer?”
Questions you can ask:
“Has your computer been running really slow lately?”
“Have you downloaded or installed anything new recently?”
Possible questions you’ll get – and suggested answers:
How can I tell if my computer or phone has been infected?
There are several signs that your computer or phone has been hit with Malware. Keep an eye out for:
- Sluggish or choppy performance
- A barrage of unwanted pop-up ads
- New and unfamiliar toolbar icons
Can I still download things like games off the Internet?
Yes. But make sure it’s from a trusted source. Even then, free software like games, may include spyware or other programs. Before you download anything carefully read user agreements for a description of what you’re downloading and if the other party will be using your information. If you have any doubts, don’t download it.
How can I protect myself?
There are easy steps you can take to protect yourself from malware.
- Make sure to install and regularly update anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.
- Regularly back up your devices to avoid losing information.
- Set up a screen lock that locks your computer or device if you haven’t used it for a few minutes.