If you manage or own a company, chances are you or your employees are using computers. At some point you or your employees will use the internet - for work purposes, for lunch-time browsing, or even when supposed to be working. Using the internet makes your IT security more vulnerable to many hackers and viruses.
It is important to recognize and understand when your computer systems are under attack from malware and other viruses. But what are the symptoms of malware infection? How can you find out if your computer or worse your entire network is infected? Here are a few warning signs and symptoms of malware infection.
You are unknowingly sending out spam through emails and social media
Are your friends telling you that you've been sending them random emails with pretty sketchy links? Or are you sending them links through facebook or twitter or other social media platforms? Then you might be a victim of spyware. This may be caused from setting weak passwords or even forgetting to log out of them.
Pop-ups and Toolbars
Pop-Ups are easy signs that your computer is infected with malware. If you see a pop-up ad it is likely that you may have clicked on a suspicious page, answered a service or an ad. When pop-ups appear, do not click on their content. Close them and immediately run your anti-malware software to remove the malware.
How often do you download free applications over the internet? Often, free application software comes with malware. Did your default web browser change? Did your default search engine change? What about your toolbar in your web browser? Many times hidden in the fine print of these free software options are details of how it will change these settings. Be cautious when seeing these links for free software and download now. Sometimes it is best to avoid downloading altogether. Contact your IT company to ensure any program you download is safe.
Blue Screen of Death
Does your computer crash frequently? That could be a sign of a technical problem or even worse a malware infection. Consult your IT service provider when this occurs to ensure the problem isn't that you haven't installed the latest drivers for your device or other technical problems with your PC. If it isn't anything wrong with your PC then your computer may be infected by malware. Consult with your IT provider anytime this occurs to ensure the security of your computer systems.
Computer running slow
This is one of the most common symptoms. Is it taking an unusually long time to start up or run any programs? You may be infected with a virus. It is best not to immediately assume you have a virus just because your computer is running slow. Do a quick check to see if you might actually be running out of RAM. For windows, open your task manager by pressing and holding down Ctrl-Alt-DEL and go to the performance tab and check how many gigabytes of RAM you are using under the memory section. You may also be running out of space on your hard drive or have damaged hardware. If that is not the problem then it's likely a virus.
Programs are shutting down randomly
Are you working on a program and it randomly closes? Does the program start when you never told it to start? That can be a sign that your PC is infected with malware.
As a manager or business owner it is important that you know and recognize the symptoms of malware infection on your PCs. It is important for your IT security to train your employees to recognize these symptoms and to have a plan and procedures in place for how to help resolve the situation as soon as possible. We recommend performing regular malware scans on all of your PCs even if the symptoms aren't showing in order to ensure the data and systems are secure.
To learn more about malware and IT security contact Seras here or by calling 803.233.9216.