The amount of malware populating the Internet has grown by staggering proportions over the past several years. 2009 was the first year where more than 1 million new malware specimens were detected. That number hit 2 million in 2010, 3 million in 2013, 5 million in 2014, and has blasted past 7.4 million in 2017.
What that means in layman’s terms is that malware can attempt to invade your computer from any source at any time. It’s not just suspicious websites and bad files downloaded from torrent or similar sites. If you aren’t actively using a good antivirus software, you could be running a major risk of infection from malware. However just because you don’t have something preinstalled doesn’t mean your system is defenseless against malware and virus attacks.
There are several online resources, and one really surprising one, which can be used to check your system for malicious programming (malware) affecting your computer.
Although the following resources can help you in a pinch if you think you’ve been tracked by malware, a better long-term option is to invest in antivirus software. As mentioned here, several of the leading antivirus software packages can defend against the latest and most potent malware packages and keep your system as safe as possible. If you can’t afford or don’t want to install one of these antivirus packages, here are some other choices to consider.
Google Chrome Malware Scanner
Google Chrome is the master of the hidden features that can make your life much, much easier. There’s Incognito Mode when you want to buy your wife’s birthday present and actually keep it a secret. There’s also the Omnibox feature for searching directly into websites. But the best one for our purposes today is Chrome’s Malware Scanner.
It’s a simple process to activate the malware scanner, just enter: chrome://settings/cleanup into your browser. There are few options to choose from, but you can go straight to:
Settings>Reset and clean up> Clean up computer
The process will start automatically, and depending on the size of your computer’s drive, will take several minutes to complete. The scanner runs occasionally on its own, but if you feel something has been compromised, there’s no reason not to run it right away.
Trend Micro Free Scanner
If you’re not a big fan of Google in general or Google Chrome in particular, there are several websites that offer free virus and malware scans on your desktop or laptop computer. Trend Micro’s option is known as HouseCall, this service can search for m
- Review and Restore: Checks and compares the results of the scans against the existing backup files.
- Fileless Detection: Picks out and blocks malicious software that may be hiding outside of your files.
- Custom Scan Options: Based on your need, time availability, and memory availability, you can pick a custom, quick, or full scan.
- Compatibility: No matter what browser you employ or what operating system runs the show, HouseCall can sync up to it and work perfectly every time.