A common fear of the average everyday computer user is that they might attract or become infected with malware. The normal operation of a computer is affected by malware in many ways, sometimes it doesn’t reveal its existence at all. Malware uses important resources of your computer’s normal operations, because it connects to other computers and programs. Some of the normal operations that are affected are CPU cycling, browser and internet speed, as well as memory. These are vital system operations that should not be impeded by outside influence. The main objective of malware is to open gateways for spyware and other malicious programs and files. They increase the chance of identity theft, harmful viruses infecting your system, and threaten your personal safety. No one likes to believe that they are at risk when they browse a common internet website, such as social media, Google, or even just a frequently visited news site. The fact is, malware can spawn from anywhere on and offline. There are several companies that open gateways to your computers offline as well. For PC gamers and software enthusiasts, when you purchase CDs from many companies, you notice that they want you to register something online, sign up for newsletters, offer free program trials and additional games that were not initially sought for. When you connect to the internet and you do not properly install the purchased software with precaution, it can lead to malware intrusions. Not every purchased program from stores or online sites is dangerous. However, knowing how to identify these issues and threats is vital for your computer’s, as well as your personal information’s safety. Most programs provide you with a list allowing to choose what exactly you wish to download, but they also allow a default installation option, which will put all programs from the package onto your computer. By monitoring and investigating each program and browser add-on you use, you can help prevent the infection from affecting your system. Many symptoms of malware infection can be related to other system problems or program problems, but staying on top of a regular maintenance of your computer can help you control the possibility of future issues. Running a daily or weekly virus scan is helpful in prevention and identification of threats and infections. Defragmenting your hard drive properly helps condense your memory capacity, relieving the pressure of erratically spread-out memory space to ensure a smoother run and not leave holes for spyware and malware to reside in. Researching programs before downloads and updates before installation is an ideal precautionary measure. To sum it all up, malware is a threat that can lead to a deeper infection of your computer and a threat to your personal safety. Investing in proper programs and scheduled procedures for prevention and maintenance is highly suggested to ensure your PC’s and laptop’s performance and security. There are several symptoms and warning signs that can be obvious to some, but oblivious to all. It is a good suggestion to make sure you monitor which programs and sites are used on your computer and its browser. Parental controls are recommended for family computers to prevent unwanted sites being accessed without a password from the administrator. Noting and researching any and all strange activity or actions your computer performs is a key to solid protection. Source.