Malware affects us all
The increasing number of Internet users worldwide createsan equal (or larger) number of opportunities for cyber criminals to takeadvantage of our systems. As we become more dependent on the onlineenvironment, we can clearly see a massive growth in malware and cyber criminalactivities all across the globe.
With so many ways out there to access and exploit vulnerablesystems, we need to make sure we’re able to recognize a malware infection inorder to prevent and defend our systems.
Because it is a battleand you need to be ready.
This article will show you what the main symptoms of a malware infectedsystem are. You’ll also learn to correctly evaluate the risk and know whereto look for a solution. Let’s get to it!
Symptoms of a malwareinfection
Does it take longerthan normal for your operating system to boot up?
Are you waiting toolong for some of your programs to start?
It is a known fact that malware has the tendency to slow downyour operating system, your Internet speed or the speed of your applications.
One of the most annoying signs of malware is represented bythe unwantedpop-up windows. Unexpected pop-ups which appear on the system are a typicalsign of a spyware infection.
If your programs or your system crash constantly or theinfamous BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) appears regularly, it’s a clear warningthat your system is not working properly and you should look into it.
4. SUSPICIOUS HARDDRIVE ACTIVITY
Another warning sign of a potential malware infection on yoursystem is the hard drive activity.
5. RUNNING OUT OF HARDDRIVE SPACE
Regarding the hard drive, you also need to check if yourphysical storage space has been increasing lately or if some of your filesdisappeared or changed their names.
6. UNUSUALLY HIGHNETWORK ACTIVITY
There are cases where the user is not connected to theInternet through his browser, and there is no program that may connect toonline servers to download or upload any data, but high network activity can still be observed.
7. NEW BROWSERHOMEPAGE, NEW TOOLBARS and/or UNWANTED WEBSITES ACCESSED WITHOUT YOUR INPUT
Have you noticed thatyour home page has been changed and you don’t remember doing it yourself?
Did a new toolbar popout of nowhere and landed at top of your web browser?
Have you tried toaccess your favorite blog, but you were redirected to a different address?
This usually happens when you visit a website and youaccidentally click a link or a pop-up window. This triggers unwanted softwareto download and install on your device. Its effects are not only annoying, butalso malicious.
8. UNUSUAL MESSAGES ORPROGRAMS THAT START AUTOMATICALLY
A few warning signs should really make you suspicious. If anyof these happen, pay closer attention and try finding the cause.
9. YOUR SECURITYSOLUTION IS DISABLED
If your antivirus solution doesn’t seem to work anymore or ifthe Update module seems to be disabled, then check to see what happenedimmediately!
10. YOUR FRIENDS TELLYOUR THAT THEY’RE GETTING STRANGE MESSAGES FROM YOU
Are your friendstelling you that they received suspicious emails from you or instant messagesfrom your social media account, which often include attachments or links?
First of all, you need to verify whether those emails ormessages were sent from one of your accounts (so check your Sent Items folderin your email/social media account). If there’s nothing there, those messagescould have been delivered from an application which is out of your control.
Knowledge is our bestweapon
Knowing how malicious software behaves on a regular systemmay just prove to be the key element between staying safe and having yoursystem wrecked or your online identity stolen.
Since we live in a connected and complex environment, onlinesecurity doesn’t end with installing a series of security programs andforgetting about them. It’s essential that we also understand how malwarebehaves on the system, so we can mitigate its impact.
In the end, it is our knowledge of malware tools and methodsthat keeps us safe, because it is far easier to prevent a threat from becomingreality than to take actions against it when it’s already too late.