Short on time? Here’s how to remove the URL:MAL virus in 2022:
- Scan Device. Run a full system scan with a high-quality antivirus (Norton is the best).
- Remove Virus. After the scan is complete, let the antivirus remove all instances of the URL:MAL virus.
- Stay Protected. Protect yourself from further infections with a high-quality internet security package (again, Norton is the best).
URL:MAL (short for URL:Malicious) is a generic threat name that AVG and Avast use when they block access to a malicious website. If you only see this when you’re trying to access unsafe websites, it’s a good sign your antivirus is working.
However, if the URL:MAL notification appears without you clicking on any suspicious links, your PC is probably infected with a malware file. The file is trying to access an unsafe URL without your permission, which could happen for a variety of reasons. For example, cryptojackers need a connection to mine crypto on your device, and adware and spyware share your browsing information with hackers. Rootkits can even give hackers remote access to your computer.
If the URL:MAL pop-up appears often, you should run a full system scan on your computer to check for and remove any potential infections. It’s also a good idea to run a full system scan just in case, even if you’ve only seen the URL:MAL notification once.
Unfortunately, AVG and Avast were both recently accused of selling user data. If you’re trying to clean up your device and stay protected, you should consider replacing Avast or AVG with a trustworthy premium antivirus like Norton.
Step 1. Identify the URL:MAL Virus With Your Antivirus
If you suspect your PC is infected, you should remove any storage devices in your USB or SD card slots. This includes cell phones, portable hard drives, music devices, and even eBook readers. Malware can easily spread to these devices through your infected computer and then spread to other computers that you plug the storage device into.
If you’ve considered the information about the AVG and Avast alleged data scandal and want to change your security suite, you should uninstall AVG or Avast next. Then it’s time to install your new antivirus software. Personally, I recommend Norton, but if you just want a free scanner to check for viruses, then Avira is a good choice.
Multiple antiviruses may interfere with one another and return unreliable results, so make sure to uninstall (or disable) Avast and AVG before running a full disk scan.
The full disk scan will go through your whole computer, detecting and quarantining any malicious files. This should include whatever file may be trying to access a malicious URL and causing the URL:MAL warning to appear.
Remember, your antivirus needs to check every file on your computer, so the full disk scan may take a few hours to complete. You may want to schedule the scan for when you’re not using your computer, because some scanners can impact system performance. Whatever you do, don’t end the scan early. The antivirus needs to check your entire system, and there’s no way of knowing how much malware is on your computer without letting the scan complete.
When the scan is finished, you’ll get a list of threats that have been quarantined by your antivirus. Your next job is to go through each of these threats and remove any unsafe files, including whatever is causing the URL:MAL notification to appear.
Step 2. Remove the URL:MAL Infection and Delete Any Other Infected Files
Now that the virus scan is finished, you need to remove every dangerous quarantined file. Advanced users will be able to determine which files are dangerous, and which ones are false positives (harmless files that the antivirus mistakes for malware). However, most users will not know how to identify a false positive. If you’re unclear, contact your antivirus program’s support team.
Once you’ve erased every malware file, you should restart your PC to terminate any viruses that may have been running in your system’s memory. Once this is done, it’s a good idea to run a second full disk scan to ensure all traces of infected files are gone. Luckily, smart scanners like Norton use file caching to recognize files they’ve recently scanned, so the second scan will be much quicker than the first.
If the second disk scan still shows infected files, you need to repeat steps 1 and 2. If your antivirus isn’t effectively removing the malware from your system, you should consider using a different antivirus program.
Once you’ve reviewed and deleted all the compromised files, you can be confident that all malware has been successfully removed from your system. However, that doesn’t mean your computer is safe from future attacks. It’s really easy to get infected by malware, and you should take the necessary precautions to keep your computer safe.
Step 3. Keep Your Device Protected From Other Malware
Every day, more and more threats are emerging online and infecting people’s computers. However, avoiding these threats is really easy so long as you have the necessary precautions in place.
Keep Your Software, OS, and Drivers Up-To-Date
Most software updates contain security patches that fix vulnerabilities that have been exploited by hackers. If your software, OS, and drivers are out-of-date, you are exposed to exploit attacks. This means hackers can crash your system and invade your device with malware.
Keeping everything on your device up-to-date is really easy. Many antiviruses (such as Avira) include vulnerability scanners that scan drivers and applications for updates and flag out-of-date files. Some vulnerability scanners can even install the appropriate updates for you.
Similarly, many applications (and operating systems) can auto-update. Always make sure this feature is turned on so that applications can update to the latest version as quickly as possible.
Don’t Download Suspicious Files
Never download files that you don’t recognize, whether from trusted or untrustworthy websites. Suspicious file downloads are one of the most common ways viruses spread between computer systems.
Likewise, never open email attachments from senders you don’t recognize — you even need to be cautious about file attachments from trusted senders. A lot of malware infections spread themselves through email. Always check with the email sender first and confirm that they meant to send you an attachment. The same can be said when receiving emails from trusted businesses. Many cybercriminals disguise their phishing emails by making them look like a legitimate business provider (such as your bank).
The easiest way to stay safe from malicious downloads is to install a secure antivirus program with good real-time protection. Real-time protection works in the background while you use your PC, scanning any websites you attempt to visit or files you try to download. If the real-time protection finds a threat, it will block the threat and keep you protected.
Secure Your Wireless Network and IoT Devices
You still need to be careful of attacks that take advantage of unsecured wireless networks or Internet of Things (IoT) devices. If your network or devices aren’t sufficiently protected, hackers can use them as a gateway to spread malware on your system.
Networks can be exploited by hackers in various ways, so it’s important to have good password security for your Wi-Fi network. You can recognize a secure network by looking in your Network Connection List. If the network is secured, it will have “Secured” written underneath it. If it isn’t secured, on Windows there will be a shield symbol next to the signal strength icon, containing an exclamation mark. Look for similar notifications on Mac and Linux devices.
If your home network isn’t protected, you should log in to your router and secure the network with a password. Always use a strong password (which you can generate using secure password managers like Dashlane), since these are difficult for hackers to crack.
Accessing your router’s settings to set a password varies according to the device. If you’re unsure how to set a password, you should enter your router’s model number in Google and see what information is available online. You can also check in the router’s manual, which should have come with the router.
Download a Secure Antivirus Program
The best way to keep yourself safe online is to download a secure antivirus program. Unlike AVG or Avast, secure antivirus programs won’t sell your data, and they come with some cool extra features. Norton is an excellent antivirus program, and it includes the following:
- Real-time protection. Constantly scans your PC for malware threats and blocks any that are detected before they can be installed.
- Web protections. Blocks phishing sites, exploit attacks, and other suspicious websites.
- Firewall. Monitors inbound and outbound network traffic and blocks any suspicious connections.
- Parental controls. Includes several features to help monitor your kids online, including content filters and screen time scheduling tools.
- Virtual private network (VPN). Hides your IP behind a virtual IP address to stop data trackers.
- Identity theft protection (US only). Monitors your data against the dark web and notifies you if there are any leaks. Also monitors your credit card for unusual changes and informs you about them.
- And much more…
Frequently Asked Questions About the URL:MAL Virus
How do I know if a URL is malicious?
It’s difficult to check whether a URL is malicious just by looking at it. The lock icon in the address bar of browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge tells you whether a site is using a secure HTTPS connection. However, there are tons of legitimate sites that haven’t upgraded to HTTPS yet.
Therefore, you need an internet security suite with good web protections that will stop you from accessing malicious URLs entirely. Failing that, you can check if a website is safe using trusted services such as Norton’s Safe Web. These services allow you to enter a URL and find out whether it’s been used in malware or phishing attacks.
What is URL malware?
URL malware isn’t malware itself — it’s usually a malicious link that contains exploit attacks, malware, or other unwanted files. A good antivirus with web protections can protect you from malicious links. However, you should also regularly scan your PC following our steps above to ensure malware files on your device aren’t connecting to unsafe URLs.
What do I do if I click a malicious link?
If you clicked on a malicious link and it wasn’t blocked by your antivirus provider, consider using one of our top 10 solutions instead. If you don’t use an antivirus, you need to download one with decent web protection that will keep you safe from clicking malicious links in future. You should then scan your PC using our steps above to ensure you haven’t received any virus infections from clicking on the malicious link.