How to Quickly Remove Malware in 2022 | McAfee Blog (2023)

If you’re like most people, you probably use your computer for most of your online activities. It’s amazing what the internet can do to make our lives easier. But if you’ve spent any time online, you know the internet also comes with some risks.

Malware (or malicious software) is one risk of living a connected life. Whether it comes from infected websites, innocent-looking email attachments, or applications and tools you think you can trust, malware can expose your private information to cybercriminals who may use it for personal gain.

If you suspect that malicious software has infected your device, it’s important to remove it quickly to protect yourself.

Though dealing with malware can be scary, there are a few things you can do. This article will explain how malware can infect devices and how you can remove it from them.

How devices become infected with malware

There are many types of malware, which do their work in different ways. They can include viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, ransomware, and more.

Some common ways that Windows PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones can get infected include:

  • Phishing and malspam emails: These are emails — often posing as trusted sources — that try to trick you into revealing sensitive information, such as your credit card number and passwords, to different services.
  • Peer-to-peer sharing (P2P sharing) and torrents: P2P sharing and torrents often offer software, games, and media for illegal downloading. They can also contain downloads spiked with malicious software code.
  • Spoofed websites of well-known brands and organizations: Cybercriminals might pose as websites of legitimate organizations to trick you into downloading malware. Click on a link, and the malware downloads to your hard drive.
  • External storage devices, such as USB drives: USB drives and other external storage devices are a popular way to exchange files between computers. However, if you find or receive a USB drive from an unknown source, don’t plug it into your machine.
  • Compromised software: Sometimes, malware can compromise the software you download. It’s a good idea to only download through trusted sources.
  • Adware, including pop-up ads: Pop-up ads are a nuisance when you click on a webpage, but they can also be laced with malware that’s released when you click on them.
  • Fake mobile apps: These often pose as popular apps, such as fitness tracking tools or cryptocurrency applications. Download them, and your mobile device can become compromised. It’s best only to download apps from trusted sources.

How can malware affect you?

Malware can affect you in a variety of ways. For example, malware can allow hackers to steal your private information, uncover passwords, cause financial issues for you or your company, delete files, and render your device unusable.

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Malware can also move from your computer to other devices, so you may unwittingly infect friends, family, or co-workers. It can gobble up your computer’s memory, slow its operation to a snail’s pace, and more.

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to find out how to remove malware and learn to protect yourself from it in the first place.

Signs malware is infecting your device

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Information points out some ways to know if malware has infected your device, including if it:

  • Suddenly slows down, crashes, or displays repeated error messages
  • Won’t shut down or restart
  • Prevents you from removing software
  • Starts serving up a lot of pop-up ads, inappropriate ads, or ads that interfere with page content
  • Displays ads in places you wouldn’t usually see them, such as government websites
  • Displays unexpected toolbars or icons in your web browser, such as Chrome or Safari
  • Changes your default search engine or displays new tabs or websites you didn’t open
  • Repeatedly changes your homepage
  • Sends emails from your personal account that you didn’t write
  • Runs out of battery life more quickly than normal

Malware removal on your PC

How to remove malware from your devices

If you think your computer, smartphone or tablet has been infected by malware, the first step is to stop ​​shopping, banking, and doing other things online that involve usernames, passwords, or other sensitive information until you have the problem resolved.

If you don’t have an antivirus program on your device, it’s a good idea to get one. McAfee’s antivirus software provides award-winning protection for your data and devices. It’s important to get antivirus software from a trusted name because some malware can even masquerade as security software.

It’s also important to make sure that your operating system for your different devices and applications are up to date. Older programs and apps might not have the latest security features — cybercriminals are constantly devising new ways to get people’s information — and outdated software can have a harder time fighting off infection.

Once your cybersecurity software is in place, you should:

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Scan your device for malware

If you have a PC with Windows 10 or 11, you already benefit from free virus threat protection with Microsoft Windows Defender. Windows Defender, or built-in Microsoft security, compares new files and programs against a database of known malware. It keeps an eye out for signs that an attack is underway, such as the encryption of key files.

Defender can run in active, passive, and disabled mode. In active mode, it’s the primary antivirus app on the device. This means the program will scan files, remedy any threats, and show detected threats in your organization’s security reports and in the Windows Security app.

Microsoft Defender will automatically turn off if you have another antivirus app installed and turned on. Microsoft Defender will turn back on automatically if you uninstall the other app.

In passive mode, Microsoft Defender isn’t used as the primary antivirus app on the device. It’ll scan files and report any threats but it won’t remedy those threats. Finally, Microsoft Windows can’t detect or address threats if it is disabled or uninstalled.

You can run quick and advanced scans in Windows Security. If you’re worried that a specific file or folder has been compromised, you can also run a manual scan by:

  1. Right-clicking the file or folder in File Explorer
  2. Selecting Scan with Microsoft Defender

You’ll see the scan results and options for dealing with any potential threats.

Microsoft Defender is also available to protect Android smartphones from viruses and malware. It can also help against phishing and phishing and scans your Android device automatically to track and identify potentially unwanted, and dangerous, applications on your device.

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Apple users, as well, have built-in antivirus software to help detect and fight off malware. Malware is commonly distributed across macOS systems by being embedded in a harmless-looking app.

Luckily, settings in Security & Privacy preferences allow you to designate the sources of software installed on your Mac. Just follow these steps:

  1. Choose the Apple menu.
  2. Select “System Preferences.”
  3. Click “Security & Privacy.”
  4. Click “General.”
  5. If the lock at the bottom left is locked, click it to unlock the preferences pane.
  6. Select the software sources from which you’ll allow software to be installed, including the Mac App Store and identified developers who are registered with Apple.

Apple iPads and iPhones have strong built-in security and privacy protections, so it is up to the user on whether or not they want to install antivirus for additional malware protections. Apple boasts a “walled-garden” approach–meaning that their operating system is closed to outside apps and games not affiliated with their official app store unless you jailbreak the device.

Remember that while cybersecurity features built into devices are a great starting point, they’re not always comprehensive. That’s where antivirus software, like McAfee Total Protection, can help. It offers continuous protection against malware, viruses, phishing, ransomware, and other online threats. It also automatically updates so you don’t need to worry about manual upgrades.

The security software also includes alerts before you connect to risky websites and offers one-click fixes to help you stay safe online.

Quarantine or remove any viruses

Antivirus software like McAfee works to block malware from infecting your computer, smartphone, or tablet. If malware somehow does get through, it can act as a powerful malware scanner by searching every file on your device for infections.

It can troubleshoot, look for vulnerabilities, and compile a list of infected software that can be quarantined (or isolated) to prevent it from doing harm and deleted at the end of the virus scan using removal tools.

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McAfee’s anti-malware software updates its virus database by using an automatic web crawler that scans the internet, identifies online threats like malicious software, and figures out how to delete them.

McAfee antivirus uses this data to automatically update your device’s protective set-upl, providing strong protection so nothing harmful gets in.

Besides desktop computers, McAfee provides mobile security for both Android and Apple devices. For example, when you use your iPhone or Android phone on a public Wi-Fi system, McAfee’s Wi-Fi privacy protection (VPN) in effect turns the public network into a private one, where you can surf safely. Of course, its antivirus app regularly scans for threats and malware while actively blocking them in real time, keeping your mobile devices protected.

McAfee keeps your device secure

McAfee offers a variety of plans tailored to fit your needs and budget so your computer and other devices — including Android smartphones, Apple iPhones, and various tablets — are protected from malware and other online threats.

McAfee is a leader in consumer security, and our antivirus software is used on more than 6 million devices. It’s easy to install and use, provides 24/7 real-time threat protection, and comes with a Virus Pledge — a money-back guarantee that it’ll remove all viruses from your protected devices.

You can get antivirus software as part of McAfee’s Total Protection services. This includes all-in-one protection for your personal info and privacy, with identity restoration assistance and up to $1 million of identity theft coverage for data breaches. You also have access to identity monitoring, safe browsing, and a secure VPN.​

With McAfee, you can turn apprehension about malware into the peace of mind that comes from proper protection.

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How do I get rid of malware in 2022? ›

Listed below are the top Malware Removal Software.
  1. System Mechanic Ultimate Defense.
  2. Restoro.
  3. Advanced SystemCare.
  4. TotalAV Antivirus.
  5. Vipre.
  6. Norton 360.
  7. Advanced System Protector.
  8. Malwarebytes.
30 Sept 2022

How do I completely get rid of malware? ›

Whether you have a virus or another kind of malware, the following steps will help you get rid of the virus immediately and repair your machine.
  1. Download antivirus software. ...
  2. Run a virus scan. ...
  3. Delete or quarantine infected files. ...
  4. Restart your computer.
14 Mar 2022

How do I get rid of malware on my website? ›

To manually remove a malware infection from your website files:
  1. Log into your server via SFTP or SSH.
  2. Create a backup of the site before making changes.
  3. Identify recently changed files.
  4. Confirm the date of changes with the user who changed them.
  5. Restore suspicious files.
23 Jan 2020

Does McAfee also scan for malware? ›

McAfee Virus Removal Service detects and eliminates viruses, Trojans, spyware and other malware easily and quickly from your PC. It also applies security updates to your operating system and your security software when necessary.

Is there a truly free malware removal tool? ›

Avast One offers free, real-time anti-malware protection against current and future infections. Secure your devices with the malware-fighting software awarded 5 stars by TechRadar and that won PCMag's Editors' Choice award for 2021.

What is Tron script? ›

I got tired of running these utilities manually and decided to just script everything. Tron is a glorified collection of batch files that automate the process of cleaning up and disinfecting Windows machines (Common Questions). It is built with heavy reliance on community input, and updated regularly.

Is it possible to remove malware? ›

Windows Security is a powerful scanning tool that finds and removes malware from your PC. Here's how to use it in Windows 10 to scan your PC. Important: Before you use Windows Defender Offline, make sure to save any open files and close apps and programs.

How do I get rid of Trojan? ›

The best way to clean up a Trojan infection is to use Malwarebytes' free trojan scanner, and then consider Malwarebytes Premium for proactive protection against future Trojan infections. Malwarebytes Premium will initiate a scan for Trojans and then remove Trojans so they can't cause further damage.

How do I remove spyware? ›

Remove any spyware by restoring your Android to its factory settings
  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select Backup and reset.
  3. Select Factory data reset.
  4. Tap Reset phone.
  5. Confirm your action by typing your PIN or password.
  6. Decide if you wish your phone to restore from backup or start fresh.

How do you clean a website? ›

Clean and maintain your site
  1. Locate support resources.
  2. Consider expediting removal of new URLs created by the hacker.
  3. Consider expediting processing by Google of your clean pages.
  4. Start cleaning up your server(s)
  5. Eliminate unnecessary software.
  6. Clean all servers.
  7. Create a long-term maintenance plan.
4 Mar 2022

How do I remove malware from my WordPress site for free? ›

How to Remove WordPress Malware Manually
  1. Prepare for WordPress Malware Removal. ...
  2. Reinstall WordPress Core Files. ...
  3. Compare Infected vs Clean WordPress Installation. ...
  4. Clear Out PHP Files from Uploads. ...
  5. Look For Backdoors Within Your Files. ...
  6. Inspect the SQL Database File. ...
  7. Review the Code for Each Page and Post.
16 Sept 2022

How do I get rid of malicious sites from Quick Heal? ›

You can take an appropriate action on an infected app or even restore the quarantined files, which you think are useful to you.
Resolved Threats
  1. Open Quick Heal Total Security.
  2. Tap the Setting menu and tap Threats Report.
  3. In the View list, tap Resolved Threats. The list of resolved threats is displayed.

Which is better Norton or McAfee? ›

While McAfee is a good all-round product, Norton comes in at a similar price point with better protection scores and slightly more useful security features such as a VPN, webcam protection, and ransomware protection, so I would give Norton the edge.

Is Windows Defender better than McAfee? ›

In Usability, McAfee was again rated higher: 6/6 vs. 5.5/6. In the AV-Comparatives malware protection test, McAfee got the perfect “ADVANCED+” score; the Defender got the second-best with “ADVANCED.” In the real-world tests, McAfee attained the “ADVANCED” rating, while Microsoft's antivirus was rated “STANDARD.”

Is Microsoft Defender enough? ›

For a pre-installed free service, Microsoft Defender does an adequate job of securing your Windows PC. However, there are multiple free antivirus software for Windows that provides better protection than Microsoft Defender.

Which malware removal tool is best? ›

  • Avast One Essential. ...
  • Bitdefender Total Security. ...
  • Norton 360 Deluxe. ...
  • Norton 360 with LifeLock Select. ...
  • Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. ...
  • Check Point ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware. Best for Ransomware Protection. ...
  • Malwarebytes Free. Best for Thrifty Users. ...
  • McAfee Total Protection. Best for Multi-Device Households.

What is the best free malware and spyware removal program? ›

Best free malware removal:
  1. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. Best free anti-malware for your PC. ...
  2. Avira Free Security Suite. Powerful protection against malware. ...
  3. AVG AntiVirus Free. Another good defense against malware. ...
  4. SpyBot Search & Destroy. An established tool against malware infection. ...
  5. Emsisoft Emergency Kit.
4 Oct 2022

Is there something better than Malwarebytes? ›

The best alternative is Spybot - Search & Destroy, which is free. Other great apps like Malwarebytes Anti-Malware are AdwCleaner, Windows Security, Clam AntiVirus and Avast Free Antivirus. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware alternatives are mainly Anti-Virus Apps but may also be Anti-Malware Apps or System Cleaners.

What is Tron virus? ›

TRON: Evolution featured a vicious, devastating virus called Abraxas. Abraxas was a former ISO named Jalen, who was reprogrammed by Clu in order to persuade Basics that the ISOs were a threat. Abraxas infected many programs, including Gibson; those programs became known as the Infected.

Can I stop Tronscript? ›

You can. When you re-launch tron, it will start at the beginning of whatever stage it was running before you ended it.

How effective is Tron script? ›

While it is a good idea, Tron is really useful and it is an useful tool, not only for removing Malware, it even de-bloats and fixes Windows. Clean installs and formats only bring back that bloatware. Tron runs scanners like: KVRT, Malwarebytes, Sophos Virus Removal Tool, Rkill, etc.

What is the best protection against malware? ›

How to prevent malware
  • Keep your computer and software updated. ...
  • Use a non-administrator account whenever possible. ...
  • Think twice before clicking links or downloading anything. ...
  • Be careful about opening email attachments or images. ...
  • Don't trust pop-up windows that ask you to download software. ...
  • Limit your file-sharing.

Is malware a virus? ›

Malware, or malicious software, is an overarching term used to describe any program or code that is created with the intent to do harm to a computer, network or server. A virus, on the other hand, is a type of malware.

What is the best anti malware or antivirus? ›

Best Malware Scanning: Malwarebytes
  • Our Top Picks.
  • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus.
  • Norton 360 With LifeLock.
  • Webroot SecureAnywhere for Mac.
  • McAfee Antivirus Plus.
  • Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security.
  • Malwarebytes.
  • See More (3)

How do I scan for malware? ›

You can also use Google Settings to scan your phone for security threats:
  1. Open Apps.
  2. Tap Google Settings.
  3. Tap Security.
  4. Tap Verify apps.
  5. Tap Scan device for security threats.

What is the best free malware and spyware removal program? ›

Best free malware removal:
  1. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. Best free anti-malware for your PC. ...
  2. Avira Free Security Suite. Powerful protection against malware. ...
  3. AVG AntiVirus Free. Another good defense against malware. ...
  4. SpyBot Search & Destroy. An established tool against malware infection. ...
  5. Emsisoft Emergency Kit.
4 Oct 2022

What is the most common way a hacker will get malware into your computer? ›

Phishing Emails

By far the most common method for hackers and state-sponsored hacking organizations to spread malware is through phishing emails. Hackers have become incredibly skilled at crafting emails that trick employees into clicking on links or downloading a file that contains malicious code.

What is the best Trojan remover? ›

The best way to clean up a Trojan infection is to use Malwarebytes' free trojan scanner, and then consider Malwarebytes Premium for proactive protection against future Trojan infections. Malwarebytes Premium will initiate a scan for Trojans and then remove Trojans so they can't cause further damage.

Can malware steal passwords? ›

What Can Malware Do? In short, malware can wreak havoc on a computer and its network. Hackers use it to steal passwords, delete files and render computers inoperable. A malware infection can cause many problems that affect daily operation and the long-term security of your company.

Is spam a malware? ›

In the general sense, no. Spam is not a virus. However, some spam emails or messages may include phishing or malware (a form of virus) that can harm your device.

Is Trojan a virus? ›

Is a Trojan a virus or malware? Trojans are not viruses, but they are a type of malware. People sometimes refer to “Trojan viruses” or “Trojan horse viruses,” but there's no such thing.

Is Windows Defender enough in 2022? ›

Is Microsoft Defender enough for personal use? Yes, Microsoft Defender is a good enough choice for basic protection against malware.

Which antivirus is completely free? ›

Best Free Anitivirus Protection
  • Kaspersky Security Cloud Free. ...
  • Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. ...
  • Total AV Free. ...
  • AVG Antivirus Free. ...
  • Avast Free Antivirus. ...
  • Windows Defender Antivirus. ...
  • ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus.

What is difference between virus and malware? ›

Malware is a catch-all term for any type of malicious software, regardless of how it works, its intent, or how it's distributed. A virus is a specific type of malware that self-replicates by inserting its code into other programs.

What is the number 1 antivirus software in the world today? ›

  • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. Best Overall Antivirus. ...
  • Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus. Best for a Small Footprint. ...
  • McAfee AntiVirus Plus. Best for Multi-Device Households. ...
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus. Best for Techies. ...
  • G Data Antivirus. Best Breadth of Features. ...
  • Malwarebytes Premium. ...
  • Norton AntiVirus Plus. ...
  • Sophos Home Premium.

How do I know if I have malware? ›

If you notice your homepage changed or you have new toolbars, extensions, or plugins installed, then you might have some sort of malware infection. Causes vary, but this usually means you clicked on that “congratulations” pop-up, which downloaded some unwanted software.

Is Microsoft Defender enough? ›

For a pre-installed free service, Microsoft Defender does an adequate job of securing your Windows PC. However, there are multiple free antivirus software for Windows that provides better protection than Microsoft Defender.


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