- Stop shopping, banking, and other online activities that involve user names, passwords, or other sensitive information.
- Confirm that your security software is active and current. At a minimum, your computer should have anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall.
- Once your security software is up-to-date, run it to scan your computer for viruses and spyware, deleting anything the program identifies as a problem.
- If you suspect your computer is still infected, you may want to run a second anti-virus or anti-spyware program – or call in professional help
- .Once your computer is back up and running, think about how malware could have been downloaded to your machine, and what you could do to avoid it in the future.
- Don't click on a link in an email or open an attachment unless you know who sent it and what it is.Links in email can send you to sites that automatically download malware to your machine. Opening attachments – even those that appear to come from a friend or co-worker – also can install malware on your computer.
- Download and install software only from websites you know and trust.Downloading free games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars may sound appealing, but free software can come with malware.
- Talk about safe computing.Tell your kids that some online activity can put a computer at risk: clicking on pop-ups, downloading "free" games or programs, or posting personal information.
- Finally, monitor your computer for unusual behavior. If you suspect your machine has been exposed to malware, take action immediately. Report problems with malware to your ISP so it can try to prevent similar problems and alert other subscribers, as well as to theFTC.