Information & Alerts
Protecting Your Computer
Malware is short for "malicious software". It includes viruses: programs that copy themselves without your permission - and spyware: programs installed without your consent to monitor or control your computer activity. Criminals create appealing websites and desirable downloads to lure you to links that will download malware, especially on computers that don't use adequate security software. Then, they use the malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.
Your computer may be infected with malware if it has the following symptoms:
- slows down, malfunctions, or displays repeated error messges;
- won't shut down or restart;
- delivers a lot of pop-up ads, or displays ads when you are not surfing the web;
- displays web pages or programs you didn't intend to use;
- sends e-mails you didn't write.
The federal government and the technology industry are helping consumers be on guard against Internet fraud, secure their computers, and protect their personal information. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov to learn more about malware and protecting your computer.