5 signs your PC is infected with malware
Concerned about Malware? In today’s constantly connected world, there are many ways to contract harmful malware that can wreak havoc on your computer.
Common types of malware, including viruses and spyware, can come disguised as emails, downloads and even compromised webpages – so it can be difficult to spot when your device has a problem.
However, there are a number of infection symptoms you can look out for. Here’s our top 5:
1 – Slow computer performance
One of the most common signs of an infected PC can be a sudden and drastic change in performance. Malware in action can consume a substantial amount of your computer’s memory, leaving limited resources for legitimate programs to use. This can lead to sluggish performance, especially in vital programs such as your internet browser or operating system. If you think your computer has suddenly slowed down, downloading a trusted and genuine virus scanner is a quick way to diagnose. If found, the scanner will either disinfect the infected file, quarantine it or delete it.
2 – Frequent Pop-Up Windows
Adware is another strain of malware that hides in browser vulnerabilities or infected apps, just to bombard users with unwanted and persistent ads. Not only does it generate pop-ups annoying for the user, but they often come bundled with other concealed malware threats, which can be even more destructive for your system. A quick fix for this issue is to download an adblocker onto your device’s toolbar, which will pause ads whilst you search the web.
3 – Browser hijacking software
Unusual behaviour, such as your homepage changing to another website, or new toolbar extensions that weren’t there before, can all be signs of malware infection. Unlike other strains, browser hijacking malware must be installed, often through pop-ups and downloads, and can be done with or without the user’s consent.
Browser hijacking aims to redirect a user to a specific website, increasing the number of hits the site receives and benefiting the hijacker. The most straightforward way to fix browser issues is to uninstall the browser from your device. After doing so, the device can be scanned for any remaining malware and, if clean, the genuine browser can be re-downloaded. The chances of such malware returning can be reduced by using a modern browser and keeping it updated.
4 – Issues with antivirus products
Did you know that some malware is sneaky enough to disable your security? Designed to specifically target any antivirus systems already downloaded onto your PC, advanced malware can break down your PC protection, leaving it defenceless to further attacks. It is notable that issues with software can also come down to troubleshooting problems. However, if after restarting your computer the issues are still apparent, it is time to consider malware infection.
You might at this point feel the need to download another antivirus software, to combat the issues with the first. However, this will only cause conflicts that can make your protection less effective or not effective at all. In extreme cases, wiping the computer completely can be the only way to rid it of malware, but it is wise to take it to your IT provider before making any high-impact decisions.
5 – Spam emails
If your friends or work colleagues recently received emails from you that you didn’t send, it’s likely you’ve been infected. Malware authors hide malicious software using downloadable files in the form of ‘important’ emails. This type of mail often includes a message stating you have won a prize or have money to claim, coercing you to open the attachment and allowing the disguised malware to be installed onto your PC.
These emails are thought to be easily recognisable, but modern-day hackers will purposefully create them to appear urgent, or as if they were from someone you know. To reduce the chances of being infected, never open an unexpected link in an email, even if it comes from somebody you trust.
Of course, the best way to keep your machine free of malware is to stop it from getting infected in the first place. A proactive IT provider such as Aura Technology will constantly monitor your systems, becoming alert to threats and often removing them before a user notices a problem.