5 Warning Signs that Your Computer is Infected with Malware

Think your computer is virus free? Think again. Your computer or company network could be under attack right now, and you don’t even know it.

Malware is a problem: biggest understatement of the century. 390,000 new malicious programs are registered every day.

And, to rub salt into an already raw, aching wound, malware software isn’t always easy to detect. Malware infections can hide in plain sight. In fact, 70% of malware infections go undetected by antivirus software.

You may be thinking, why even bother then? Don’t give up just yet. There are some ways you can tell if your computer is infected. Read on to discover 5 signs that your computer or network is under a malware attack:

1) Pop-ups

Unwanted pop-up windows are a clear sign of a malware attack. These pop-ups may tell you that you’re infected with a virus, and you need to buy their product to remove it. This ad is actually the virus in disguise. Avoid clicking on any suspicious pop-up windows, and let your employees know to watch out for the same pop-ups.

2) Crashes

We’ve all been there. Your computer crashes, and you lose all of your unsaved work. Sadface.

Computer crashes can be caused by a software update gone wrong or some other technical issue. Or, they could be a sign of something more sinister. So, how can you tell the difference between a not-so-serious computer crash and a malware infection?

Your error screen (also known as the “Blue Screen of Death”) can tell you everything you need to know. If your computer is blue-screening on a regular basis, we’re talking weekly or even daily, you have a serious problem and should consider data security solutions not next year, not next week, but now.

Whatever the cause of you and your employees’ computer crashes, it’s always a good idea to uncover the root of the problem and fix it as soon as possible.

3) Low Hard Drive Space

You notice that your hard drive space is randomly shrinking. You went from 20 GB to 10 GB in one day, and you have no idea why. What is going on?

Sudden drops in hard drive space can indicate a malware infection. Malware software can rapidly eat up hard drive space with random files. Be sure to keep an eye on your physical storage and your file names. If you notice that files are disappearing, or your personal files have been modified, you could be a victim of a malware attack.

4) Slowdown

Are your applications and programs taking forever to load? Are you seeing the dreaded pinwheel of doom or spinning blue circle daily or hourly? Malware infections can drastically slow down your operating system, internet speed and application loading times.

Before you assume the worst, look for other common causes like not enough RAM, too many applications running at the same time, a fragmented hard drive, etc. Once you’ve crossed all these off, you can start checking for a potential malware infection.

5) Computer Lockdown

Some malware programs will lock your computer and hold your data for ransom. This type of malware is called ransomware and is taking the world by vengeance. On average, there are 4,000 ransomware attacks every day.

For the most part, it’s easy to tell if you’re infected with ransomware. But, sometimes, ransomware perpetrators will try to obscure their purpose. For example, they may pretend to be the FBI and charge you a fee to retrieve your data.

No one is immune to ransomware attacks. Police departments, healthcare organizations and even government agencies have been victims of this rapidly evolving threat. The perpetrators are virtually undetectable. And, even if you pay the ransom, there’s no guarantee that they’ll return your data.

Even if you keep an eye out for all of the above warning signs, malware can still sneak into your network and remain undetected. Some types of malware will leave no visible traces. They take up residence in your system, steal your personal information and passwords, and you’ll be none the wiser.

So, how can you fight invisible malware? The best defense is a good offense. Ramp up data and network security by implementing a robust security plan and preparing for every potential threat.

Learn how you can change the way your organization protects business-critical data and applications by downloading our guide Security, Manageability, Reliability: The Keys to Safe Data below.

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