With the rise of eCommerce and online banking, cybercrime has evolved. Like criminals who pull smash-and-grab jobs, they go where the money is. However, unlike bank robbers, cybercriminals do their best to avoid detection by letting malware do the work for them. Viruses and spyware sneak into PCs to quietly steal passwords, financial credentials, and other personal information to be sold on the black market for profit. Not all malware is stealthy, though. Here are some telltale signs that your computer has been infected.
Are your operating systems and programs taking a while to start up? Is your data bandwidth suspiciously slow? If so, your computer may potentially have malware.
However, just because your PC is running slower than usual doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s infected, as there could be other causes to your computer slowing down. First, check if you’re running out of RAM. For 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 monitor your RAM usage.
Other causes could include lack of space on your hard drive or even damaged hardware. Once you’ve ruled out other possible causes, then malware may be the culprit.
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 possibly be incompatible with your hardware. If none of these problems are apparent in your PC, then malware could be causing your crashes.
To check what caused your last BSOD, search for “Reliability Monitor” and check for recent failures that occurred. You can also click on “view technical details” to learn the origin of the crash. As for troubleshooting solutions, consult with a managed security services provider to figure out what to do next.
Lack of storage space
There are several types of malware that can compromise files saved on your computer. Most tend to fill up your hard drive with suspicious programs and files. If you find any of these cluttering you computer, notify IT support engineers right away. In most cases, you may need to disconnect your PC from the corporate network to contain the infection.
Pop-ups, websites, and other unwanted programs
You might think that downloading free applications is harmless, but the installation process can inject malware into your device. When you’re installing a program from the internet or even app stores, it’s easy to just skim over the terms and conditions page and repeatedly press next. This is where cybercriminals get you.
In the process of skipping over certain installation steps, you might have exposed your computer to harmful materials. If your default web browser has changed, pop-ups keep appearing on your screen, or you keep getting redirected to unwanted websites, your device may already be contaminated. To respond, run malware scans and update your browser. Then, remove any programs you may have inadvertently installed and be cautious the next time you download something for free.
You’re sending out spam
If your friends are telling you that you’ve been sending them suspicious messages and links over social media or email, hackers may have gained access to your accounts via malware. Warn your friends not to open anything that appears to be spam and make sure to reset your passwords across all your devices and enable multifactor authentication.
Knowing how malicious software affects your computer can help you take the necessary precautions and 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. Contact us today for more advice on keeping malware at bay.