10 Symptoms of Malware: How do you know you are Infected?

03 Aug 10 Symptoms of Malware: How do you know you are Infected?

MeetSpora-02The eerie pop-up messages, slow, clunky booting up processes and unusual warnings and errors. These are the kinds of symptoms that bring sweat to any security professional’s brow. If the following list sounds a little bit too familiar, then we have bad news: These are possible signs of a malware infection…


Malwarebytes found that 66% of infections were caused by a payload or exploit kit, meaning that malware is increasingly infecting your computer with your notice and is becoming extra hard to detect and remove.

Some malware is clear as day; others work like Trojans, silently in the background of your computer. So how do you know if you have malware in your system? Let’s look at some telltale signs.



1. The Dreaded Slowdown


If you have not installed a RAM hogging application, like Photoshop, but are experiencing a sluggish computer experience, this could be an indication that you are a victim to a strain of malware. Malware is known to significantly slow down applications and greatly impact general computer performance.


If your computer is lagging on start-up, leisurely in opening applications, and behaving generally obtuse – this a critical symptom that malware is on your device. If you feel these effects it’s probably time for a deep scan or a tune-up.


2. “Unusual” Browsing Experience


Did a new browser toolbar pop up out of nowhere? Did you try to find your favorite website, but were mysteriously redirected to an entirely different address? These are urgent red flags that you have malware on your computer. Generally, this variant of malware is used to generate advertising revenue for attackers and it will greatly hinder your browsing experience. At best, it’s annoying, at worst it is registering your credit card information or leaving back doors for ransomware to access your system.


3. Annoying Pop-ups


One of the most annoying symptoms of malware is unexpected, noisy, poorly designed pop-ups. This is a typical sign of malware, not only are the pop-ups annoying and hinder your navigation, the advertisements themselves could conceal more malware within them. Often these strains of malware can be far more destructive for your system than the initial variants.


4. New Desktop Icons


If you have noticed unusual new icons on your desktop, you may have contracted Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs). They are considered a variant of malware that can collect your private information, spy on your browsing experience and add pop-ups, and toolbars to your browser.


5. Hard Drive Issues


It is concerning if loud noises and excessive activity are registering on your computer particularly when you are not downloading or running a program, this could be a sign you have contracted malware. Also, if you notice that your hard drive is running out of space quickly, even though you are light on applications this is another key sign of infection. It is common for malware to target and use up all available free space on a hard drive.


6. Continuous Crashes


Constantly crashing systems or programs, or even worse, you are consistently witnessing the infamous Blue Screen of Death, this a clear critical warning that you need to consider evaluating your system. If your programs are crashing regularly this indicates things are not well and you are experiencing a common effect of a malware infection.


7. Fake Security Programs


If you start seeing threatening warnings from a mystery anti-virus product you have never installed, chances are this is Malware. The creation and distribution of malware is a very lucrative business. Naturally, to use this software, you will need to pay to “fix” your problems. Be wary of unrecognized applications or software that you have not downloaded. If in doubt Google is your friend, you won’t be the first to have been infected.


8. Your security is disabled


If your antivirus solution doesn’t seem to work, or the update module within the software appears broken this could be a self-defense mechanism of the malware that is infecting your system. If your troubleshooting efforts are unfruitful you should consider the possibility that you have a malware infection.


9. You can’t access critical applications


Restricted access to the Control Panel, Task Manager, Registry Editor or Command Prompt are other common defense tactics for malware and another common sign that your computer has been corrupted by malware. To keep your PC safe and protected, it’s recommended to run a full scan of your system regularly to help iron out any issues.


10. Everything seems okay….


Yes, probably the most worrying symptom is that malware can hide on your system without influencing anything. Some of the worst damage that can be done just by keeping tabs on you while you browse and registering your private information. It is essential that you keep active computer and network security.


You can visit our list of the top 10 ways to stop ransomware here.


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