How to remove malware

If you have found out that your computer has a virus or other malware, you will definitely want to remove it. A good first step is getting an internet security suite such as F-Secure TOTAL. You can try it for free.

These instructions assume you are running a Windows computer. If you are on a Mac, see the instructions for that and if your phone has malware, check the guides for Android and iOS.

What to do first

If you want to remove the infected files (you should), refer to F-Secure Labs’ instructions how to remove. In most cases this is enough.

Browser-based threats

Your browser is the centerpiece of your internet life, be it banking, social media, searches – much of what you do online. This makes it an obvious target for cybercriminals. Some malware is embedded within browser extensions such as toolbars.

Some extensions are flat out malicious, some are just annoying. In the worst case they can track everything you do on your browser and manipulate the links you are clicking. They can also change your default search engine or insert affiliate marketing codes to your online purchases without your permission.

Check your browser for unrecognized or suspicious add-ons and remove them. Or, even better, you could reinstall your browser with default settings and start from scratch.

To be safe in the future, you should protect yourself by using the Browsing Protection feature in F-Secure TOTAL to block malicious websites.

Complicated threats

If you have a case of a more drastic malware, the most certain way to get rid of it is to make a backup of your working files, wipe your computer and reinstall the operating system. Note: do not include applications or their extensions such as browser plugins in your backup, as you might transfer infected files when you do a clean install of your system. 

There are rare cases of rootkit based malware surviving a Windows reinstall. Even those can practically always removed by wiping the disk using a data destruction software. This method is best left to the advanced users.

When you have removed the malware, rescan your computer to make sure nothing was left behind, update your operating system, browsers and your essential applications to make sure you don’t leave any vulnerabilities open.

Change your passwords

If the detected malware was a keylogger, change your passwords, especially ones to your email and social media accounts. Malware might have leaked your password to the hackers.

When you are all set and all clean, make sure you will not get infected again. Get protected with F-Secure TOTAL internet security and privacy suite. You can try it 30 days for free.

Try free for 30 days

Get started with TOTAL in just a few minutes – try it free for 30 days, no credit card required.