How To tell If Your Computer Is Infected With Malware

Get Rid of Malware
Get Rid of Malware
 Malware is getting more and more intelligent and alongside it, the number of malware itself is also increasing exponentially. Once infected, some viruses aren’t so easy to get rid of and formatting your hard drive and reinstalling the operating system may be the only way to get clean. This, of course, comes at the cost of losing all your precious documents and files if they are not properly backed up.

On the other hand, some viruses aren’t out to destroy you but to steal from you – gain your personal  information or add you to a botnet (it’s just what it sounds like, your computer is a zombie for other hackers). The best way would be to avoid this scenario entirely, but what happens if you find yourself prey and can’t help it? The solution would be to find the malware and remove it as soon as possible. Here are some tell tales signs which can tell you if your system is infected with a malware.

Look for the following symptoms

1. Your computer slows down
Some malware don’t bother to hide their presence and they will affect your computer by eating up your boot time or network speeds. If you notice something like this and you aren’t too fond of running programs that are RAM intensive like Chrome or rendering software, check your system for virus presence. If you are running these programs, however, and they start up at boot time, they could be the problem.

2. Annoying popups
This is by far the most certain sign of malware (adware to be exact) on your system. If you experience unwarranted pop-ups when casually using your computer, you are likely infected with malware. What’s more, this particular type of malware is hard to identify and rid your computer of since they completely hinder navigation if not removed. You can still keep safe, however, if this happens by following a few basic tips.
  • Do not click on any suspicious pop-ups.
  • Don’t answer unsolicited emails.
  • Ensure you check the integrity of free software before installation
To get rid of this threat, a good antivirus like one from the people over at the ESET antivirus support team would help you get rid of this threat

3. Crashes
The Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) may come at unexpected times and more often than not, it signals that a pesky malware running peacefully in the background. This is a clear warning that something is wrong with your system and you should look into it immediately.
This issue is usually caused by two main things:
  • You could have software installed that is potentially incompatible with your hardware.
  • You could have a malware issue on your hands.
If its a technical issue, it may have resulted from any one of the following:
  • You may have recently installed a driver that is incompatible with the software you run. eg. manually installing a network driver for Atheros but you needed Realtek.
  • If you recently manually edited your registry, or installed a program capable of this, the BSOD could also result.
  • At times, running two antivirus concurrently also leads to system crashes.
If the above are not the case, run a system scan using your antivirus software and it should find the virus and rid you of its annoying consequences.

5. Suspicious CPU activity
If you notice that your CPU activity is unusually high, and the computer tends to slow down especially when you are using the internet, this is a potential sign of malware infection.
Some malware infect your computer with and harvest CPU power to feed to a botnet of computers that hackers can use for more destructive purposes. If you notice this, the Task Manager may be of help to root out which processes are causing you trouble.
However, as malware are getting more intelligent, some can easily modify your system and hide themselves from the task manager. You should fire up your antivirus and find the cause as soon as possible.

6. Low HDD space
If you haven’t downloaded some space intensive software of late and your computer is suddenly warning you about low hard disk space, you may have a virus on your hands.
Some malware get into your system and continually duplicate themselves onto your hard drive as they carry out their activities. As a result, you could find new folders in your disk partitions that are seemingly empty when you open them but are actually occupied by the malware’s files.

7. Unusually high network activity
At times, you aren’t using your browser, nobody else is logged in to your computer and your background programs aren’t downloading anything at the moment, but a quick look through the Task Manager reveals high network use regardless.
Of course, this could be an innocent issue such as a running windows update or you are data is being uploaded to the server (if you activated OneDrive automatic uploads, for example) or you are innocently running a torrent program. If this is not the case, you may have malware secretly communicating to its servers in the background/
Some good tools to monitor your network include Little Snitch, Wireshark and GlassWire. They should help you root out whatever network intensive process you have in the background.
All the same, ensure you remain safe by having in hand a good anti-malware protection program, because it may affect you greatly otherwise.

7. New Browser homepage
If you find your with some ugly new homepage that you didn’t change or some new toolbars that you didn’t authorize installed, you likely have spyware on your hands.
These will often redirect you to different pages, like facebook2.com instead of Facebook itself in order to steal your personal information. They also keep track of whatever websites you visit and leave you vulnerable to attacks. These will often also try to trick you with annoying pop-ups and convince you to download some form of free software in a bid to further infect you with adware.
You should run a complete scan of your system to find and get rid of this type of malware because they aren’t exactly easy to get rid of.

8. Unusual running processes
There are quite a few signs that fit into this category that you should be on the lookout for. These include any of the following:
  • If, for any reason, the programs you are running involuntarily close or crash for no reason.
  • If your browser launches without you opening it and redirecting you to a shady-looking website.
  • If your system suddenly shuts down for absolutely no reason.
  • Suspicious processes are running as soon as Windows boots up
  • If some of your drivers crash for no reason, or if you notice your camera running without you intending it.
These could either be a sign of malware or that your system has been compromised and you have an attacker in your system. If you find yourself victim to the latter case, disconnect from the internet immediately to prevent any more damage from occurring to your system and any further loss of privacy. You may need to see a security expert afterwards.
In the previous cases, a complete scan of your system should help you find the root cause of the problem and eradicate it.

9. You antivirus has been disabled
If Windows suddenly asks you to activate your antivirus when you didn’t enable it in the first place, prepare for the worst. You may have a really advanced malware on your hands. Most antivirus come with self defense techniques to prevent them from being disabled and a malware that is able to do is is extremely advanced and will be especially hard to get rid of. If you already tried to reboot your system or re-enable the antivirus without success, you may be infected.
This could create way for ransomware and financial malware to infect your system, because you essentially have no protection.

What To Do
  • Update your antivirus on your computer with the latest definition.
  • If you figure out which malware is infecting your computer, see if their is a specific tool available for download which is designed to remove that particular infection
  • After you download the removal tool and update your antivirus, disconnect from the internet. 
  • Do a full scan of the computer.
  • If your machine is extremely slow and won't allow you to do anything, reboot the computer by pressing the reset button or hold down the power button for at least 7 seconds until the computer shuts down completely. Then turn on the computer and press F8 key, or SHIFT+F8 for windows 8.1 and windows 10 systems. for boot selections and select boot in safe mode. There in safe mode you are able to run a full computer scan.
  • If the malware proves to be a real difficulty to remove. You may have to backup your files and do a complete Operating system re-installation.

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