We’ve spoken a lot about VPNs in the past – for securing/encrypting Internet connections – but malware scanners remain a critical ward against malware.
Today, ransomware alone costs the world £3.5 billion in losses each year (FBI figures).
With cyber attackers targeting mobile devices, it doesn’t matter what type of computer you are using – if there is a threat point in any plugin or your browser, it can serve as an attack path for malware to enter into your system.
This can seriously compromise your personal and sensitive information such as credit card details, usernames and passwords. You cannot rely just on the general security shell of your device.
A good malware scanner will protect you against a wide range of malware variants such as worms, viruses, Trojans and ransomware. These can then be quarantined and removed from your system or blocked at the gate.
Table of Contents:
Best Malware Removal Software
We’ll show you what to choose today. Whether: the best malware scanner for android; best malware scanner for Mac; best malware scan for iPhone; best malware scanner for Windows 10; best malware scanner for iPad; or the best malware scanner for iOS – we’ve got you covered!
For the best malware scanner free of charge, click the link in the two bullet points above .
Best Malware Scanner – Top 5
Kaspersky Best Malware Scanner Review
How secure is Kaspersky…? These guys ranked #2 for our best free antivirus software review. If the name sounds Russian, that’s because Kaspersky Labs is an anti-malware solution straight out of Moscow/Russia.
They’re 23 years old, founded in 1997. That is to say that – if you’ve never heard of them before – it’s not because they aren’t well trusted in the anti-malware community. Then our headquarters all around the world, including London England.
We’ve also used this bar chart before, and we’ll repeat it – just to give you some perspective. While, in the UK, Norton by Symantec has the most well-known name, Kaspersky outperforms Norton for overall protection against malware,all with the lowest demand on system performances.
To get technical, they perform very high for malware detection scores, with only light to moderate impacts on system operations. This makes them worthy of the number one spot. Even the basic plan gives you ransomware protection.
As with any top tier malware scanner, Kaspersky comes with a smart firewall. Meaning you are protected from outside intrusion attempts – and the quick scan can pick out the latest malware variants (as seen from the chart above, they score very high from malware detection).
Just as essential, you’ll get Internet security: a secure browser (see the most secure browser list), webcam protection, anti-theft protection on laptops and a VPN client that has pretty good use for public Wi-Fi hotspots.
This works on android, Mac OS and iOS. Backup software is included with file encryptions, parental controls, file shredder and an unlimited password manager. All in all, we can’t see a better antivirus software solution for overall value and performance.
Pricing and Plans
Get protection for one desktop computer – or pay a little more to protect multiple devices under a single account (android mobiles, tablets, iPhones, and so on).
The basic level gives you Windows protection against viruses and cryptocurrency-mining malware – for £12.49.
However, we’d recommend you get – at minimum – Kaspersky Internet Security – which gives you advanced protection and privacy, including for online banking – on PC, mobile and Mac.
Avast Best Malware Scanner Review
Not to be confused with AVG, which is a subsidiary – Avast is a malware security solution that comes in two main versions: Avast Free Antivirus and Avast Premium Security. It’s a complete online protection system for computers, phones and tablets.
Avast gives you real-time protection against malware. They’ve been around since 1988 – even older than Kaspersky at 32 years old. Headquarters are in the Czech Republic, Prague...
What’s interesting about this company is they’re interested in AI, machine learning as well as computer security software. They have over 435 million monthly active users, which means they’re the 2nd-largest anti-malware provider in the world (April 2020).
Before these, at number two because you get comprehensive protection, which begins with a firewall – a crucial aspect of protecting yourself online.
You’ll also get ransomware protection, antispam, a Wi-Fi inspector, smart antivirus scans, and sandboxing system.
Fit detections are very intelligent.
Pro Tip: Use this in combination with Malwarebytes or Kaspersky. If you have any issues quarantining, the other software will cover weaknesses.
Pricing and Plans
If you opt for the premium version, you can protect 10 devices for £74.99 a year. This works on PC, Mac, Android, iPhone and iPad.
Whereas the second option is for one PC: for £59.99 per year, you’ll get full protection on your PC. This option has a 30-day free trial, although protection and 10 devices does not have the option.
If your business employs a few employees or thousands, they have many more solutions for every level of your business infrastructure. Visit the website to find out more.
Malwarebytes Best Malware Scanner Review
The first American Internet security company on this list. Malwarebytes can protect smart devices and computers, as well as companies from malware and other security threat points.
Founded in 2008, they’re relatively new. You can find a free version which should be titled Malwarebytes free. This was once known as Malwarebytes anti-malware… if you need to remove a tricky piece of malware, this is a fantastic solution.
Have this running with other antivirus programs without any issues (sometimes, AV programs can conflict with each other). This makes Malwarebytes very VERY useful as a last resort. We might not recommend this as a full AV program – but it’s great for malware removal.
If you opt for the full paid version, you get protection when online, blocking infected sites and links. This is there to prevent phishing cybercriminals from tricking you into giving them private information such as bank details.
Works against ransomware, the updated version uses 50% less CPU resources (they also have a ‘Play Mode’ now too) and schedule scans to custom fit you.
Pricing and Plans
As we said, if you opt for Kaspersky, Malwarebytes is an invaluable secondary system you can use if there’s something that Kaspersky cannot identify. If you suspect you are infected, run Malwarebytes and see what’s happening.
For Malwarebytes Premium, you can either buy for one year or two years. Note that the mobile device version is free.
Bitdefender Best Malware Scanners Review
With the #1 free antivirus option, Bitdefender comes up with great ratings on almost every high authority online malware scanner guide.
That’s because they have very good malware protection (in fact, they may even score higher than Kaspersky, in some dimensions), with lots of handy extra features – and an overall light system impact all at a great price.
These guys are a Romanian antivirus software company founded in 2001. Headquartered in Bucharest, they have an enormous 500 million users worldwide (and that’s as of 2018). Our top choice product is its Bitdefender Antivirus Plus.
Looking for high-performing free antivirus software? Bitdefender ranked #1 on our list.
Use this for Windows and Mac, for up to 3 devices per account. The Safepay feature helps you to safeguard yourself when doing online transactions.
There’s also a VPN available – although, like most malware scanners, the VPN is rather limited. Overall, if you intend to do lots of streaming with a VPN, it’s usually best that you use a specialist provider for the best performance.
Also included are parental controls, webcam protection,a two-way firewall and Internet security. Use this to protect your mobile phones as well.
Pricing and Plans
These guys also have a free plan, which is high performing. To get full protection on a premium plan, you pay £22 – a generous three devices are covered for a year. Watch out to make sure that you choose multiple devices rather than only PCs. You can protect your iPhone, iPad, tablets, smartphones and more.
If you choose to also use a VPN service, that will roughly double the price per year. But it will help you to secure Wi-Fi hotspots.
Norton Best Malware Scanner Review
Norton AntiVirus is almost as long-lived as Kaspersky. It was founded in 1991, making it around 30 years old.
It has definitions and heuristics for a countless number of viruses. In 2007, they held 61% of the US market for security suites (beating their big competitors like Kaspersky Lab).
Today, Norton runs on Linux, Mac OS and Microsoft Windows. Artificial intelligence is used for its malware detection systems. And you’ll get the full gamut of malware variant identifications and quarantines: from spyware to ransomware and Trojans.
Overall, the way that this is #5 on the list – Norton is a juggernaut , among the heavyweights for security against malware.
Get parental controls, in order to block inappropriate sites for members of your household. There is a secure VPN which is incredibly efficient. With a single click, encrypt your data without great reductions in Internet speed in most cases.
There’s a ton of other features… A game mode, firewall of course, backup software (although the upper limit isn’t great), password manager and webcam protection. The parental controls are some of the best you’ll find anywhere.
See the websites that minors in your household are visiting, what search queries they are using in search engines, videos they are watching, and apps they are downloading. There’s also a GPS monitoring option – if you want to check up on their activities outside of your four walls.
Pricing and Plans
All plans come with a 30 day free trial. Keep in mind that the basic plan only gives you one device, and you can add other mobile devices with the next plan level up.
Our recommendation is Norton 360, which gives a good amount of cloud storage (10GB) and protection against identity theft.
What is Malware / What Does Malware Do?
Malware is an umbrella term for many different types of malicious software – these include different types such as spyware, ransomware and viruses.
Each type of malware does something different; perhaps slightly differently to the others or very differently.
But they all do something malicious or damaging. Typically, these malware are developed by cyberattackers, designed to attack systems and data – or to gain unauthorised entry to networks.
Malware is usually infected into a system using a link or file through email (phishing), where the user needs to click on a link or execute a file in order to operate the malware (unknowingly). If you don’t want to pay, at least use a strong free antivirus software.
What are the dangers of malware?
Malware impacts different systems in different ways:
- Steals confidential data/carries out identity theft
- Steals multiple millions of pounds each year from individuals and corporations
- Causes major disruptions to operations
- Brings web browser / computer speeds to a crawl (MiTM attacks in particular)
- Allows cybercriminals unauthorised access to sys resources
- Creates prolonged / repeating crashes & freezes
Most malware variants will be unnoticed by the user,, but it’s still important to detect and manage malware infections. If not, the malware can stay hidden and do wide-scale damage.
How malware affects computer performance:
- Relentless popups / ads
- Redirecting searches / web browsers
- Switching homepages
- Auto-installing unwanted software
- Driving down connection speeds
- Changing computer settings
- Interfering with network connections
We’ll also go over “What are examples of malware and what is the most dangerous malware”...
Since the early 1970s, when the Creeper virus first carried out its destruction, malware has threatened organisations and individuals.
This is since exponentially increased – into hundreds of thousands of malware variants, all designed to damage, steal and disrupt.
The subgroup of malware that you’ve definitely heard of. These are malicious bits of code that get attached to files or documents. The target bits of computer data that support macro, using them to execute cold that self replicate the virus – even across two different users and computers.
Once you’ve downloaded the virus, it will lay dormant until the infected file is open and used. When we quarantine an infected file, we are essentially sandboxing it from the rest of our device. Once a virus operates, it’s designed to interfere with your system’s performance, often leaving leading to great inefficiencies and data loss.
Viruses are probably the most common malware type, similar to a biological virus. Then on to corrupt files and lock users out of computers. You can often find them in EXE (executable) program files.
These are anything but slow-moving; they very quickly replicate themselves and spread to any machine that is connected to a network.
The reason why they can spread so fast is that they do not need a host program or file in order to self replicate. A worm can…worm its way into a device that has downloaded a file, but also a file that is simply connected to an infected network connection.
Once a device has been affected, the worm can suffocate at a phenomenal rate. They are similar to viruses in that they cause massive disruption to the performance of your computer, as well as data loss.
Be very careful about connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots without already running an antivirus software on your machine.
Probably the coolest sounding piece of malware of the lot. Trojans are a type of virus – also known as Trojan viruses – that infect your system by disguising themselves as wanted software programs.
However, once you’ve downloaded the program, the Trojan virus worms its way into confidential data and then deletes, blocks your access or modifies that data.
This can be incredibly dangerous to the performance of your machine and to corporations that hold a lot of sensitive data, such as in healthcare. They’re not quite the same as viruses or worms because Trojans do not self-replicate…
Just like Greek soldiers hidden inside a giant horse, ready to attack their unsuspecting host, this malware variant is discrete and breaches security by gaining access and then cramming the door open for other malware variants.
Tying with Trojans for the coolest sounding piece of malicious software, ran somewhere is designed to get access to confidential data in a system. It does this by encrypting information in a system, preventing a user from accessing it.
In order to get access, the cyberattacker behind the ransomware demands a monetary payout for that information to be released.
Ransomware is usually orchestrated via phishing scams. Somebody receives an email, for example, and clicks the dangerous link. That link was disguised to look perfectly legitimate. Once clicking, the user unknowingly downloads the ransomware onto their device.
This can be very expensive for businesses and corporations – requiring expensive payouts. Oftentimes, the locked information isn’t released, even after payment. Ransomware has been known to lock down whole networks.
Spyware & Adware
Spyware sits on your computer secretly, and gives information back to a remote user. The objective isn’t to disrupt the performance of your device but to obtain sensitive data that can give the cyberattacker access to your personal accounts and information.
This could be stealing from your bank or carrying out identity theft. One very dangerous piece of spyware is keyloggers.
What Are Keyloggers?
This is actually one of the oldest types of malware, and was around even during the time of typewriters.
Check out our best password manager guide, for a one click solution to logging into accounts without keys.
Keyloggers record keystrokes, in order to give passwords and personal information (such as credit card details) to remote users.
While adware clicks data to do with your computer usage, so that they can target advertise to you.
And, while adware isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can affect your system’s performance and redirect you to dangerous websites. Sometimes even contain Trojan horses and spyware too. That said, not all adware is malicious but is certainly worth avoiding.
Also known as memory resident malware variants. This type of malware lives via your device’s memory, not from any hard drive files. It can be tricky to detect because there are no files to scan. And any forensics can be tricky too because the malware vanishes whenever your computer repeats itself.
A notorious bit of ‘fileless’ malware is DNSMessenger, which the Cisco threat intelligence team discovered in 2017.
Top 4 Most Dangerous Malware
#1 - CryptoLocker
This bit of ransomware first came out in September 2013, disseminated via email attachments.
As ransomware does, CryptoLocker encrypted files that it was able to infect, blocking users from accessing them.
In order to have those files unlocked, the victim had to pay a certain amount via bitcoin. They were then given a private key to decrypt the encrypted files.
This ransomware attack led to the FBI offering £3 million for anyone who brought them the leader of the cybercriminal organization, Evgeniy Bogachev (after he was caught in Operation Tovar).
If you are unlucky enough to have been affected by this malware or one of its new dangerous strains (such as BitPayment or DoppelPaymer), it may be removable via the anti-ransomware program known as ‘Cyber Vaccines’.
#2 - PlugX
A Trojan first identified in 2012, Remote Access Trojan (RAT) – also known as ‘Korplug’ – targeted government organisations and businesses, disseminating through phishing emails, spear-phishing campaigns and spam campaigns.
The attacker first gave out an email containing an infected attachment, typically either Microsoft Word or a PDF. Then cause all sorts of damage such as deleting files, logging keystrokes, messing with registry entries, debilitating background tasks, sucking up network resources, and more.
The biggest hit was on JTP Corp, who had 7.93 million user records affected. The same number happened to Japanese Travel Agency.
#3 - Zeus Gameover
As you may gather from the name, this piece of malware was ambitious and first identified in 2011. Not to be part of the “Zeus” family of viruses / malware, it targeted Microsoft Windows, driven into devices via spam messages and unwanted downloads.
Spam messages are not just annoying and there to waste your time, such as unsolicited emails from dating sites you never joined up to! Spam is a serious threat point for malware – DO NOT not click on unknown emails in your spam box.
The Zeus virus was used to get into bank accounts and steel funds. It was able to bypass central servers, creating parallel ones that sent out confidential, untraceable data. Zeus is still around. It can encrypt your files and carry out ransomware demands.
The simplest way to protect against the Zeus virus is to use antivirus software, and malware removal scans, such as Malwarebytes.
#4 - Stuxnet
We talked about worm malware variants above. These rapidly replicate themselves over a network. This particular worm was probably around since 2005 and officially identified in 2010.
Stuxnet targeted Iran’s nuclear buildings. Many nuclear centrifuges were destroyed – containing enriched uranium, burning themselves to a pulp.
Foolad Technic was the first target.
This malware variant disseminated via USB sticks and Windows machines. Siemens had 50,000 Windows computers infected, and 14 control systems – mostly in Germany.
Can Malware Be Removed? (Manual Guide)
So you’ve seen signs of a malware infection: slow performance, strange anomalies and unwanted pop-ups…
This can sometimes be as a result of incompatibilities, but if you’ve been infected by malware, the easiest way is to install something like Malwarebytes and let it run a scan. These tools are amazingly good at identifying this neediest and newest threats.
If you want to manually remove malware, here are the steps:
(This can be very handy if your computer won’t start up properly, or does not allow you to download the necessary antivirus software, due to interference by the malware itself).
You want to get into Safe Mode, which means removing your computer from the Internet. Ron connected to the Internet again until you’re ready to clean it.
This will reduce how much the infection can spread.
Safe Mode allows only the minimum required programs and services to run. To boot in Safe Mode, click Start.
Hold the shift key and then click Reboot. You’ll get a full screen menu: select Troubleshooting, Advanced Options and then Start-Up Settings. Now click Start.
When you’re given more options, select number 4 for Safe Mode. If you want to run an online scan, select option 5 – which allows networking. If you notice your computer is faster in Safe Mode, this is a sign you’ve been affected.
No need to get rid of temporary files. This will help your virus to scan faster and release more disk space, possibly even deleting the malware itself. Go to disk cleanup, by typing this into the search bar. Delete temporary files. Use a quality cheap VPN when surfing.
If you already have a malware scanner on your device but it still seems to be infected, then it’s best to try an alternative. No one malware provider can detect all malware variants.
While you can only have one real-time antivirus program on your system at once, you can get as many on-demand scanners as you want.
This suits our purposes. You can pretty much choose any on our list. Malwarebytes is our top recommended for how comprehensive it is.
Reconnect to the Internet in order to download the malware scanner. Alternatively, you can download it to another computer, save it to a flash drive and then use a flash drive on the infected computer.
With Malwarebytes, select Threat Scan:
This performed first, and it usually detects all of the infections right away.
Expect this to take between 5 to 20 minutes. If successful, run a full scan afterwards to detect anything lingering. This may take up to an hour.
If Malwarebytes shuts down suddenly while scanning, this means you have a rootkit infection. To get rid of this you will need to reinstall Windows.
How to Prevent Malware Attacks on Computer Systems
Hackers are cybercriminals who obtain unauthorised access to devices and can networks, usually in order to cause damage or to steal confidential data. This can also be useful blackmail.
#1 - Firewalls
When you buy a Mac OS or Windows machine, it will come with an inbuilt firewall – specialised software that shields you and your data from the outside world. If somebody tries to intrude, you should be notified by the firewall.
Whenever you go online, make sure your firewall is on. There are hardware firewall versions that you can buy from companies like Sophos and Cisco. Bigger businesses may want business networking firewalls.
#2 - Antivirus
Different from firewalls – these are specialized at protecting your computer against malware variants. These work in real time, ensuring that the antivirus is up-to-date, as new viruses and variants are created each day.
Make sure to set scheduled scans, so that your computer is regularly searched for infections.
#3 Good Practices (How to Keep Your Computer From Being Hacked):
Here’s a few dos and do-nots:
You should be using long, complicated passwords that contain at least eight characters and a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
Hackers have their own software that can break simple passwords in a matter of minutes. Using random number generators can prove quite beneficial as well.
Keep your files safe
Avoid anything that is recognizable and don’t use personal information. If you have too many passwords to remember, a password manager can help.
Shut down your system when it’s not being used (an unbroken Internet connection can give a hacker more time to break in). Also, consider using two factor authentication and a quality VPN service.
Mobile phone threats
Bluetooth is more risk than you may realise. If you’re not using it, turn it off. Also avoid public Wi-Fi that hasn’t been secured ( and you want password free Internet, but these are risky). Also download an antivirus and firewall software app on your phone, e.g. BitDefender, Kaspersky, Avast...
More mobile threats
Clear your browsing history regularly as cookies and cliched files can give entry points. And set autocomplete to “off”. Lastly, make sure your passcode isn’t something simple such as 000 or 1234. The best is a randomly generated six-number passcode.
What Does the ILOVEYOU Virus Do / Who Created the ILOVEYOU Virus?
The ILOVEYOU virus is also known as the fake love letter, Love Letter for you or LoveBug. It's a computer worm that has so far infiltrated over 45 million Windows personal machines.
It’s done this since 2000, disseminating itself via email with the subject line “I love you”.
Inside of that email is a "LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs" attachment file that seemed to be a normal text file (leading to people wanting to read the text file to see who it is from) – but it was really a VPS file.
Once it infected files on your devices, they were modified – causing destruction – also sending copies of itself to all of the addresses in your Windows Address book. At the time, it was the fastest spreading email worm in history.
The LoveBugworm program was created by two Filipino programmers Onel de Guzman and Reonel Ramones. They tried to hide evidence of this bug but accidentally left some disks in the apartment that contained the one. They were then surveilled by a telephone company, which led to arrests and investigations by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
At the time, however, there were no laws in the Philippines against writing malware so both programmers were released. In 2012, the Smithsonian Institute labelled as the 10th most infectious computer virus in history.
What is the Most Common Malware?
In the war of malware vs virus vs spyware vs trojan vs bots – what is the most common type of malicious code?
As common as a common flu, these corrupt your computer and do all sorts of destruction, including stealing money and much much more. This spreads like wildfire via Internet downloads and email attachments and can affect both computers and mobiles.
Close behind, these self replicate over computer networks, worming their way into vulnerable points in an operating system.
These are so dangerous because of how quickly they can spread (even faster than viruses, in some cases), and do diverse damage.
#3 Trojan horses
This third type beats spyware and adware, perhaps because they are so good at disguising themselves. People download them because they look like normal, legitimate files. Once on your device, however, you give cyberattackers access to your system.
These can do a deadly amount of damage, from stealing financial information to destroying the performance of systems.
Things like ransomware are even less common but do an enormous amount of damage each year nevertheless.
How Much Does Ransomware Make?
Cool fact: Ransomware is terrifying... In 2011, the FBI reported £485 million in losses from it. This is increased to £3.5 billion in losses in 2019.
The easiest way to protect yourself is to use a reputable malware scanner such as Malwarebytes – use this for your phone too, as cyberattackers are increasingly targeting mobile devices… If mobile privacy concerns you, the best free VPNs for your mobile can help.
Kaspersky is the most tried-and-tested anti-virus solution on the market (a complete real-time solution) – get very strong malware protection for a good price, on all your devices.
While Avast is a very light piece of software that’s ideal if you have an average-performing system. The premium version supports a very generous number of devices (10) – ideal for family households.
Last but not least, Malwarebytes is highly recommended as an extra option that can be incredibly good at sniffing out malware that the other providers might miss. If you’re running an online business (online business ideas), you particularly need protection for your hard-earned moolah.
That’s all. We hope this guide helped!