Top 5 Free Malware Removal Software Needed to Speed Up Your Computer
The internet is an amazing resource full of places to go, things to explore, learn, experience and interact with. It is also full of nefarious characters trying to take what you have. Just like in real life, there are those who think nothing of taking advantage of someone just to make a quick buck or because it makes them feel good. It is something every internet user has to protect themselves from.
One of the main attack vectors these lowlifes use is malware. Malware, or malicious software, is secretly installed onto a computer and will do one of several things.
- Capture your logins and passwords and send them back to the hacker.
- Integrate your computer into a botnet to be used for criminal purposes.
- Show advertising in popup windows or redirect legitimate web searches to other websites, (adware).
- Open up your computer to other viruses like a Trojan does.
- Encrypt your data and only unlock it once you pay (ransomware).
How is malware delivered?
Malware can be delivered in several ways. It can masquerade as a legitimate piece of software that you download, be linked to in a spam email and downloaded once opened, be contained in an infected website advert and a few other methods. These methods change all the time so it is important to keep your computer protected, which this tutorial is all about.
It isn’t all bad
Before we get onto malware removal tools, it is important to note that the internet isn’t all bad. Yes it is a bit like the Wild West as it will entrap the unwary. But, take a few basic precautions and you can easily avoid 99% of these internet threats. We have covered them before on Techjunkie, but they include always using a firewall, always having an antivirus program running and using a few common sense rules when on the net.
Don’t download anything you’re not sure of, don’t open links in emails from senders you don’t know and always use an adblocker. Those three things alone can prevent the vast majority of malware from infecting your computer. For the rest you can use a free malware removal tool like one of these.
Top five free malware removal tools
Malware removal tools, like antivirus software, change constantly. What is the best right now may not be in a few months’ time so it’s a good idea to check the latest reviews to see what is the current king of the crop. At the time of writing (November 2016) these are what I think are the top free malware removal tools.
BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition
BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition has malware and spyware protection built in. It is free as the name suggests and won’t bombard you with requests to register, buy the premium version or anything else. It is unobtrusive and just gets on with the job of protecting your system.
BitDefender Antivirus Free Edition scores well in most independent testing too which is the mark of a good package.
Malwarebytes is consistently in the top ten free malware removal tools because of its effectiveness. It is one of the best out there in terms of detecting and removing malware, spyware, rootkits and other nefarious code. You have to run and update it manually, but it detects more malicious code than most other packages.
Malwarebytes is simple, effective and uses the same signature database as the premium version. That is the mark of a quality product.
Spybot Search & Destroy
Spybot Search & Destroy has been fighting malware for years and is still very good at what it does. It isn’t the easiest to work with thanks to a clunky UI. It does get the important stuff right, which is protecting you from malware. It can work in the background, alert for threats or run purely on demand. It is entirely up to you.
Spybot Search & Destroy also scans for botnet activity, prevents host file changes and has a secure file deletion tool too.
Avast Free Antivirus
Avast Free Antivirus is another product that has been around for years and consistently scores highly in independent tests. It is a simple product that does what it does very well. It is light, fast and just works. It also detects most malware, viruses and threats offering credible protection for your computer.
Avast Free Antivirus also includes a password manager and network monitor for a little more security.
Ad-Aware Free Anti-Virus+
Ad-Aware Free Anti-Virus+ is another old timer that has managed to stay relevant and effective after many years on the market. It can scan all downloads, monitor your system for suspicious programs, check for spyware and adware and can warn you of potentially unsafe websites using whitelists.
Ad-Aware Free Anti-Virus+ is another product that is light, hassle free and just gets on with its job. That’s why it is on this list.
A note on these free malware removal tools
All of the tools mentioned within this tutorial are good at what they do. However, in order to make money, some others on the market will include ‘optional extras’ in the installer. It is important not to just skim through the installer to get the program installed quickly but to read each option first.
Ironically, the entire point of malware removal tools is to remove unwanted software. Yet some installers install unwanted software. That software isn’t usually dangerous, but is unwanted. The software makers get a referral fee every time one of these programs is installed which is why they include them. Just uncheck the box in the installer if you don’t want to try them.
Otherwise, use one of these five free malware removal tools can help protect you from the worst threats on the internet. They work tirelessly to scan your system for malicious code and remove anything they find quickly and efficiently. What more can you ask from free software?
Do you use another malware removal tool? Prefer one we haven’t mentioned here? Tell us about it below!