Is your computer acting out of sorts? Are you having trouble with pop ups? Your computer might have been compromised with viruses or malware. How can you tell whether your system has been infected? Here are ten telltale signs of malware infestation.
1. System Crashes
Unexplained crashing is one of the best ways to discover that your computer’s security is compromised. Viruses will often give your OS rules that it cannot abide by to make it tumble and fall. Check out unusual activity with an antivirus program.
2. Your computer is straining
The hard drive light is on and the computer sounds like it’s straining when you are not running any significant processes. Computers will sometimes do regular maintenance during idle times, but make sure that you get your machine checked out for viruses. Someone might be using your resources to do their nefarious bidding.
3. Waiting for programs
Something that would take a few moments to do is taking minutes. You have double-clicked on your browser and find that you have enough time to read a book in the wait time. You’re probably infected.
4. Antivirus is disabled
One of the things that a virus will do is to attempt to disable the programs which are designed to protect against them. If you see that your virus protection is off (marked by an X) and you didn’t turn it off, you might have been compromised.
5. Check out your email
Email is another great place for your system to be compromised. It can be used to send out spam and spread viruses. If you look in your sent items box and see that there are messages that you didn’t send, you might have malware installed.
6. Strange activity
This is a catch all sort of category. If the sites that you generally go to tell you that your password is invalid or that the last known attempt to get into your account using your name and password was when you were asleep, your security might have been compromised.
7. Desktop icons have changed
When you return to your desktop, make sure that everything is where you left it. If the wallpaper has changed, or there seem to be more icons, or even if they’ve just been rearranged, you might have a virus or some malware on your machine. Check the start menu to see if new software has been added.
8. Pop-up ads
Pop-up ads advertising anti virus programs are a sign that your system might be infected. These are advertisements that will show up frequently, often have typos in them, and encourage you to buy their antivirus package.
9. Unable to print
If your computer was able to print yesterday, but it’s not able to today, you might have a virus on your system. Remember that malware is sometimes created for no other reason than to cause hassles.
10. Waiting for pages
Pages that once took a second to load now take their own sweet time. Hackers will often hijack your bandwidth to serve their purposes, so keep an eye on your system. If it’s running slower than normal, run a check for malware.
The best way to protect your computer is by observation. When you log on, make sure that nothing is out of place from when you left it. If there is something that strikes you as quirky, run an antivirus scan on your machine. Many programs can be set to run in real-time so that they will catch the viruses before they have a chance to install.