As a computer or laptop user, your daily routine might consist of waking up, brewing your morning coffee, and sitting down to check your email. In the midst of reading through your messages, have you ever experienced the feeling that something didn’t seem quite right? Could it potentially be that your device is experiencing a malware infection as a result?
Perhaps your laptop or tablet is operating slowly, or browser pop-ups are all over the screen, or there’s a new extension on your Internet browser. If all this sounds familiar, it’s because these are the common signs of malware attacks.
With smart devices being the preferred go-to computing device for most people, many people are unfamiliar with what a computer infected by malware looks like.
What is Malware?
Commonly known as computer viruses, malware is malicious software designed to infiltrate your computer to steal information or do damage to your computer system. Moreover, once a malware infects your PC, it starts automatically every time you turn on your computer. Stolen data then goes through a transfer process by the individual or group responsible for the creation of the malware via an Internet connection.
How Does Malware Infect a Computer?
Malware doesn’t infect computers directly in most cases. Instead, it disguises itself as something else and then makes its way into a computer. Users themselves download the most common malware. Many online apps and software are unverified and come from shady sources. Users may face temptation by the features and advertisements in downloading them. Moreover, the malware is encrypted in the download. It will either installs itself automatically or after software or app installation.
The second most common infection strategy used by hackers is spam emails. These phishy emails may contain forms and attachments which when opened, download and install themselves automatically.
What Does Malware Look Like on a Computer?
Recognizing the signs of malware infection on a computer isn’t always easy. Some tell-tale signs that your device has been infected by malware include:
Your computer operates very slowly. Software and apps take longer to start or load up. This can also happen due to faulty or failing hardware, but that only happens to old computers from a couple of years back.
You notice more pop-ups when browsing websites. How do you tell a legitimate website pop-up from a malware caused one? The frequency and the content. If pop-ups are happening every couple of clicks or they’re not relevant to the website you’re browsing it’s a malware infection.
If your computer crashes frequently, then it might be the result of a malware infection. Again, this might be caused by faulty or failing hardware, but the chances are low.
You notice increased internet usage in the task manager (if you’re a Windows OS user). Unless you have an active upload or download going on, someone is siphoning away your usage data or stored data.
Random messages pop up while you’re working on something else. In some cases, certain apps will launch automatically.
Your friends, family, or business acquaintances receive spam emails from you, which you didn’t send.
You can’t access particular functions of your PC like the control panel or individual drives, meaning your administrative privileges have been restricted.
Take Steps to Prevent Malware Infection
As a computer user or business owner, any malware infection in your device can be detrimental, as it puts sensitive data at risk. To protect yourself or your network, you may want to invest in malware protection software that will secure your data and privacy.
Malware has been a constant problem for computer and laptop users for decades; attacks will increase in the upcoming years according to projections. As a computer owner, be sure to take preventative measures to prevent infection in your devices.
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