Does Your Computer have Malware?

Does Your Computer have Malware?

The world of eCommerce and online banking is a favorite among cyber-criminals. These bad guys tend to go where the money is, and there is a lot of money in online retail and banking. And malware, unfortunately, is their number one choice of weapon. This is because it gives them a free pass.

Malware is a sneaky attacker and avoids detection. Viruses and ransomware creep into PCs and quietly steal passwords, financial credentials, and other personal information. They then sell this information on the black market for profit. Fortunately, however, not all malware is as stealthy as it may appear.

Here are some clear signs you have been infected. 

Slow computer

Are your operating systems and programs taking a while to start up? Is your data bandwidth suspiciously slow? If so, your computer may have a virus.

Just because your PC is running slower than usual, however, doesn’t mean it’s infected. For example, you could be low on RAM.

To check this in Windows, open task manager (press Ctrl + Shift + Esc) and go to the Performance tab and check how many gigabytes of RAM are used up under the Memory section. For Mac OS users, you can open the Activity Monitor app and, under System Memory, you should be able to find out your RAM usage.

Other reasons that are cause for a slow computer could be a lack of space or even damaged hardware. If these reasons check out, however, malware may have infected your device.

Blue screen of death (BSOD)

If your PC crashes regularly, it’s usually either a technical problem with your system or malware infection. You might not have installed the latest drivers for your device or the programs you’re running could be incompatible with your hardware.

If none of these problems are apparent in your PC, then a virus could be clashing with other programs and causing your crashes.

To check what caused your last BSOD, go to Control Panel > System and Security > Administrative Tools > Event Viewer and select Windows Logs. Those marked with “error” are your recorded crashes. For troubleshooting solutions, consult forums or we can figure out what to do next.

Lack of storage space

There are several types of malware that can manipulate and corrupt the files saved on your computer. Most tend to fill up your hard drive with suspicious files. Ransomware, for example, is a notorious type of malware that denies you access to your data until you pay a so-called ransom. There are more aggressive forms of ransomware, like NotPetya. This is known for exploiting security holes to infect computers without needing to trick users.

If you find any unknown programs that you have never installed before, notify IT personnel in person immediately (do not email them). Your device might not be the only one in your network that is infected with suspicious programs.

Suspicious modem and hard drive activity

If your hard disk is working excessively, while no programs are currently running or you notice that your external modem is always lit, you should scan your computer for viruses.

Pop-ups, websites, toolbars, and other unwanted programs

Pop-ups come from clicking on suspicious pages. Those include pages that ask users to answer survey questions to access a website’s service or install free applications. While inherently harmless, they could be downright annoying. Refrain from clicking pop-up pages and just close them instead. Run malware scans and update your browsers.

Take caution when downloading free applications. This may seem harmless, but the installation process can inject malware into your device. When installing a program from the internet or even app stores, it’s easy to skim over "terms and conditions" and press next.

This is where they get you. In the process of skipping over certain installation steps, you might have agreed to accept a new default browser and opened unwanted websites and other programs, filled with viruses. Be cautious when downloading something for free.

You’re sending out spam

Have your friends told you that you’ve been sending them suspicious messages and links over social media or email? You might be a victim of spyware. Warn your friends not to open anything that appears to be spam. In addition, make sure to reset your passwords across all your devices. Lastly, enable multi-factor authentication.

Knowledge is power.

Knowing how malicious software affects your computer can help you take the necessary steps to rectify the situation as soon as possible. Regardless, of whether or not your system has experienced these symptoms. It’s always smart to perform regular malware scans to ensure your business is safe.

You can always make sure your network is secure, by contacting your friendly IT guys. Call us today.