Is your Surface running a lot slower than it used to? Are you getting a lot of random pop-ups? Are you wondering where that “Free Super, Ultra, Driver Manager Pro” application that keeps asking for your credit card came from? Are you seeing a dozen toolbars in your web browser that you didn’t install?
Well, malware on Surface Pro tablets can be a real problem and you, my friend, might just have some on your Surface.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how to handle a malware infection, the difference between viruses and malware, and how to prevent one in the future.
Since it’s possible you’re here because you have (or suspect you have) a malware infection and are desperately trying to get rid of it, I’ll start with how to remove an active infection.
Malware on Surface Pro Tablet: Removal (Remove an Active Infection)
If you have (or think you have) an active malware problem on your Surface, stop reading this and follow the instructions at the link below to immediately remove the malware from your Surface tablet.
After your immediate malware problem is solved you can come back to this article and learn more about what happened.
Malware on Surface Pro Tablet: Difference between a Virus and Malware
If you watch the Big Bang Theory, you probably saw this bit about Jacuzzis and hot tubs at some point. It turns out the analogy Zak makes in this episode is very good for malware and viruses too. (If you haven’t seen it, he says “is that like all thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs“.)
In the case of viruses and malware, all viruses are considered malware but not all malwares are considered viruses. Below is a list of the different types of malware you may find on your computer:
- Virus: A computer virus is a “contagious” program (or part of a program) that infects the other software on the host system and tries to spread itself as far as it can
- Adware: Adware is software which renders advertisements for the purpose of making money for its authors. This is what you have when you start getting random ads popping up. Not all adware has malicious intent, but its a problem because it slows down your computer and can be annoying
- Spyware: This type of malware spies on you, tracks your internet activities, and steals passwords. It typically hides and can be very difficult to detect. Keyloggers are considered spyware
- Worms: This type of malware simply exists to replicate itself and will destroy saved files on your Surface as it does so. Eventually it will eat up all the space on your hard drive
- Trojans: Trojans are a type of virus that try to make a user think they are a safe program, so you’ll run them. Once installed, who knows what the program will do
- Ransomware: Ransomware is a nasty type of malware that locks access to the computer until the user pays a fee. Your screen might show a pop up warning that your have been locked out of your computer and that you can access only after providing a credit card
Now that you have a grounding in the different types of malware, let’s move on to the difference between anti-virus and anti-malware software.
Malware on Surface Pro Tablet: Anti-Malware vs Anti-virus
You might be thinking; “but Tim, I have that anti-virus you recommended, isn’t that enough?”
This is because viruses and worms tend to be the most destructive and critical threats to your computer.
Anti-malware packages, on the other hand, are optimized to look for adware, spyware, trojans, and ransomware.
Anti-virus and anti-malware packages work well together and you should have one of each protecting your Surface.
Malware on Surface Pro Tablet: Prevention
Now that you know more about malware than 95% of people on the internet, let’s move on to preventing malware infections.
The best way to protect your Surface from malware is to disable the wireless network and USB ports. If you can’t load any software that didn’t come with your device, you’ll never have to worry about malware. Unfortunately, if you do that, your Surface will be just about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. So, the best practical way to prevent malware is to use a malware scanner.
My favorite malware scanner is MalwareBytes. They have been around for a long time and are very well respected. Their signature scanning product is considered to be among the best anti-malware protection you can get.
- (LINK) FREE VERSION: The free version offers on demand malware scanning, and removal. It will only scan when you manually open the application. In addition, you have to manually update the software when new versions of the detection database are released.
- (LINK) PREMIUM VERSION: The premium version offers automatic, real-time protection in addition to the on-demand functionality of the free version. You can also set it to schedule scans and updates. And best of all, it will prevent you from being tricked into visiting compromised websites.
If you spring for the premium version, you don’t have to do much else. It will automatically protect you from malware without you needing to do anything. If you want a bit of extra protection, you can set up scans to happen daily, weekly, or monthly just to make sure something doesn’t slip through.
If you stick with the free version, you’ll need to manually scan your Surface as it won’t automatically do anything to protect you. My advice is to kick off a scan -at least weekly- and again if any suspicious behavior happens on your Surface.
Malware on Surface Pro Tablet: Conclusion
I hope you found this article informative and helpful. If you don’t already have anti-virus installed, I urge you to check out my 2015 post on free anti-virus solutions for your Surface and install one of them.
If you don’t have anti-malware software installed, I recommend you go with MalwareBytes Premium to protect your Surface but at the very least, you need to download and install the free version of MalwareBytes now.
As usual, questions, comments, grips, complaints, and random rants below…
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.