Each day, untold numbers of new con-artists and hostile computer programs (called malware) are unleashed upon the world, just itching to get their grubby paws on your personal information. They’ll take whatever they can get, from the names and email-addressees of your friends and associates (so they can impersonate you) to your business’ financial information (so they can steal from you). They might find a way to gain control of your computer (so they can blackmail you), or even find pictures of your family and loved ones (you don’t want to know).
Millions of people all over the globe, from individuals to entire multinational corporations, and even countries, are feeling the sting caused by these criminals and their subverted software. While governments and police agencies the world over do their best to fight this rising tide of cyber-crime, it simply isn’t enough to stem the flood; there are just too many bad-guys out there looking to make a buck at some innocent’s expense.
So how can you keep your private information, and your family, safe from these digital attackers? That’s a topic wide-enough for an entire book, but one of the best ways to protect against these faceless foes is to frequently scan your devices for malware. Now for the good part; one of the best anti-malware programs around is not only effective and easy to use, but it’s also free! It’s called Malwarebytes, and using it could save you untold money, time, and heartbreak. Who knows, you might even like the peace-of-mind it provides, too. After all, wouldn’t you feel better knowing your computer is working for you, and not someone else?
Full disclosure: there is no such thing as perfect security, online or off. Even if you run Malwarebytes 3 times daily, it’s possible a new security breach could infect your computer. Of course, you can still get hurt wearing a seat-belt during a car crash, or get pregnant while using protection. Isn’t it smarter to improve your odds, rather than knowingly making them worse? Besides, if Malwarebytes DOES find a new infection, it’ll simply clear it off for you the next time you run it.
Enough with the disclosures; let’s get to business.
To download Malwarebytes, go to https://www.malwarebytes.org/.
You’ll see two buttons; Buy, and Download. For now, click download (you can always buy the pro version later).
On the next screen, under “for home”, click “download free version”. Don’t worry if you’re a business, the home version does everything you need it to.
After clicking “Download Free Version”, you be taken to a page, and the program will automatically begin downloading. If it doesn’t, click the “click here” link to manually download it.
Do you know where your downloaded files are? If so, great, go there now and find the executable called “mbam-setup-” with numbers at the end (which shows the version number; don’t worry about that now).
Double-click to open. If you are asked to allow the program to make changes to this computer, choose “yes”.
Next, you’ll be asked to choose your language. English is the default, so just click “ok”.
Click the radio button that says “I accept the agreement”, then “next”.
Click the “next” button on the following screen. After that, you’re given the option to choose where the program will be installed. You can just leave this alone and click “next”, and “next” again on the screen after that. The following screen will create a desktop icon. If you don’t want one, uncheck it (though you can just leave it alone). Click “next” again.
Congratulations! You are now an expert at clicking “next” buttons! Also, there’s just one more button to push, but this one’s called “Install”. After that, you can choose to have the program run right now, or do it later. Might as well do it now.
If you’re asked to allow the program to make changes to your computer, choose “yes”.
After opening the program, you’ll likely need to update it. This is because things change daily, and Malwarebytes needs to be as updated as possible to catch everything it possibly can. Wait patiently for it it update, or find something more important/exciting to do in the meantime.
See where it says “database version”? To the right of that is an option called “update”. Click that and wait for the database to update. This might take a while, and you need to be connected to the internet the entire time, but the good news is it doesn’t take up too much of your computer’s resources, so you can do whatever you want while it is updating.
You might get a message that the program couldn’t update; don’t worry, there might be too many people on the website trying to update at the same time. If this happens, ignore it for now; Malwarebytes will still be able to find a great many malware programs with what it already knows (though you definitely need to get it updated as soon as possible.
After it does update, it’ll look like this:
Notice the green circle next to database version? That means you’re updated, and ready to do battle with any malware lurking on your system.
Can you guess what comes next? If you said “click the giant ‘scan now’ button”, you’re right! Give yourself a treat (cookies are nice).
Here’s what it’ll look like while scanning:
The scanning process might take a little while (it took about 10 minutes to scan my entire system, but yours could be faster or slower). Use this time to enjoy that cookie you earned earlier, or find something else to do. When it’s done, you’ll see a screen detailing what Malwarebytes found. As you can see, my PC is squeaky-clean.
Either click “finish”, or just close the program. Your device is now free from malware. Remember to run Malwarebytes regularly (at least once a week) to keep it that way.
So what have we learned? There’s all kinds of greedy, evil jerks out there that would love to slip their code into your computer without your knowledge, but regularly using Malwarebytes is a great way to protect yourself from their unwanted advances. It’s free, so you have nothing to lose. It’s effective, and best of all, easy to use. For most users, the free version is more than enough to find and destroy any threats lurking on your devices, though a paid pro version is available for users that need an extra edge. Free or not, though, Malwarebytes is a great way to protect yourself and your information from all the scum out there hoping to gain something at your expense.
By Eric Streeter