Is Your Computer Malware Infected?
5 Signs That Your Computer Is Malware Infected
It seems that every other day some major company has been hacked, leaking massive amounts of supposedly secure, sensitive data. Hackers do not only target large companies. Some hackers prefer smaller targets to gain access to your personal information. Additionally, hackers can use personal computers to reach those larger data stores! This puts you at risk for malware.
What is malware? Malware is intentionally harmful software, including viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. Because malware can run silently in the background, there is no sure-fire way to tell if your computer has been infected with Malware other than running a virus scan. However, sometimes malware can create performance issues on your computer. Here are 5 reasons to suspect Malware on your computer.
1. Your machine is running slower than usual
Malware slows your computer because the questionable program is using your system’s resources to complete a task. You might notice that it takes longer than normal for your operating system or programs to start. First be sure that you are not using any resource-heavy programs or applications. Be sure that you have enough RAM memory and hard drive space. You should also check your hardware. If everything checks out, your computer could be slow because of malware.
2. You notice suspicious or excessive hard drive activity
If you notice that your hard drive continues running when you are not using it any more, your computer might be infected. Another clue would be running out of hard drive space. However, you should make sure that nothing is running or downloading at the time of the activity. You should again check your hardware.
3. Unusual messages appear or programs start automatically
Malware can cause unusual messages that might include strange windows opening, popups, or your friends notifying you that you’re sending strange emails.
Strange windows opening while booting may be accompanied by programs opening and closing automatically or Windows shutting down without reason.
Popups are annoying! They are also a fairly sure sign that your computer is infected with spyware, a type of malware. It can be difficult to remove from your system, and they can be packaged together with other, more destructive threats that you cannot see.
If you are sending strange emails to your contact list, it does not automatically mean that your system is infected with malware. You should first check that your email account was not compromised by checking your sent mail folder. If you do not notice suspicious activity, suspect malware.
4. Your security solution is disabled
If you have installed and regularly use antivirus software on your computer, you’re one step ahead. However, it is important to realize that some malware programs can disable your antivirus software! If you notice that your program is no longer running or cannot install updates, your computer may be infected with malware.
5. You have a blacklisted IP address
If you cannot get onto certain websites that were working fine before, you might have a blacklisted IP address. This is a security feature provided by website hosting companies to prevent malicious activity on their servers. Malware programs can use your IP address to attach a host server, perhaps trying to get to sensitive information stored there. The host’s server sees that your computer is attacking, therefore banning your computer from even reaching the server.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should probably run Malwarebytes. This free anti-malware and internet security software can tell you whether or not your computer has been compromised. If you find malware, it is a good idea to let a local technician look at your machine. Malware can be tricky to remove. If your virus scan comes back clean, but the problem persists, you should probably let a technician look at the machine as well. If the malware on your computer has disabled updates to your security software, it might be unable to detect the problem.
UPDATE: Ransomware is a version of malware that allows a hacker to encrypt files on a computer. These hackers ask for a ransom from the user to restore the files.