8 Signs Your Computer is Infected with Malware
Malware consists of viruses, trojans, adware, spyware, ransomware, key loggers, etc. These are applications that run malicious code and are used by hackers to steal valuable data. It is often not easy to identify malware unless you are familiar with some of its typical signs. If a computer on your office network is infected and it is ignored, in no time the malware infects all the computers on the same network. This is because malware is programmed to replicate and infect as many computers as it can. If a whole network is affected, the business can take more than a week to get back all the data which results in a heavy loss of valuable time.
Therefore, malware should be caught as soon as possible to minimise the damage. If the malware is detected soon, the infected device can be cleaned by a professional to ensure the protection of your entire network. Almost akin to the COVID-19 virus, isn’t it? Just like how you would wear masks, sanitise and protect yourself to avoid another long lockdown in Melbourne, it is necessary for you to recognise signs of a malware attack on your system and take precautions to minimise the damage. Here are some tips to identify the most common tricks that malware play on your computer.
1. Popups on The Desktop
Malware can disguise as an antivirus app or some other common app. They keep popping up on your screen as an antivirus renewal notice, a warranty notice, or some other kind of offer masking to be real. Hackers often build malware to mimic familiar apps on the computer so that the users are more likely to click on them. If you start noticing these pop-ups too often and without a reason, your PC may have been infected with malware.
2. Slowing Down Your Computer
Computers usually slow down when they run complex programs or perform memory-intensive functions or have several browser tabs and apps running at once. As a regular user, you would easily know what slows down your computer. In case you notice it is slowing down unnecessarily, there could be malware. For example, if you are not running any big program or don’t have many open tabs, but your computer is running slowly or hanging, it could be an attack. Malware tends to slow down your computer as it runs in the background and takes up RAM space and other system resources.
3. Crashing Apps
Apps sometimes crash when there is a bug in the software or an issue with a security update, etc. But if your apps crash suddenly also frequently without any warning, beware of a virus or some other kind of malware. In these cases, you will need to restart the apps or even reboot your PC to resume your work. So, be watchful, frequent crashing of apps could be a warning sign.
4. Redirection of Your Home Page
When a certain kind of malware infects your computer, it can change your browser settings and redirect your home page to malicious phishing sites with several pop-up ads. If you notice such changes, get your computer thoroughly checked because simply changing your home page settings back to normal, will not fix the issue. You will have to get the malware removed completely from your computer so that your data remains safe.
5. Too Many System Reboots
A common trait of some malware is to change the core system files and alter the functioning of the OS. When it changes the system files or corrupts them, the OS becomes unstable and crashes. The system reboots suddenly without warning and results in loss of work and data.
6. Losing Space on Your Hard Drive
Malware takes up much space on your system and even makes copies of files or creates a huge number of new files that have no useful data. So, if you find that you have lost a lot of disk space on your computer for no reason, it is definitely due to some form of malware. You cannot search and manually remove these files because they generally have common system file names. It is better to run a scan for viruses or let a professional clean up the computer to remove such malware.
7. Several Corrupted Files
Files can get corrupted for different reasons but when many files are corrupted and you are unable to open them, your computer might have been infected. Corruption of files is a serious issue as you not only lose data in them but also risk hackers accessing all of them. This requires you to seek immediate professional help.
8. PC Sounds
We are all familiar with those whirring sounds in the background when the computer is processing high-intensity programs. These sounds stop as soon as the computer finishes the job. But if you hear these sounds frequently even when you are not performing any such memory-intensive activities, you should get a malware scan done. There is a chance that malware is running in the background, taking up memory space and slowing your computer down.
When you notice any of these signs on your computer, act swiftly. Get a professional scan done from a reliable firm as online scans are not always trustworthy, and they may even include malware. It is better to be protected when it comes to malware and the COVID-19 virus. We wouldn’t want another long lockdown in Melbourne just like how we wouldn’t want to risk losing days of work and data from a malware attack. Melbourne is finally back to normal, and we are loving every bit of the city vibes, kids are back to school, gyms and hairdressers are open and what’s more, we even have new artwork installations opposite Flinders Street Station. Reach out to us for anything Melbourne and for tips on safeguarding your computers from malware.
Worried your business network might be infected? Reach out and we can help.
Thanks to DALL-E for the featured image!
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.