Malware: The tell-tale signs

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Would you notice if your computer had malware? Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, offers some simple advice for catching any malicious software in the act.


There are numerous tell-tale signs that you may be infected with malware, in no particular order:

Your security software disabled or even uninstalled. Whilst most security software will protect itself from malware it can only do that if it is running first, if the malware manages to sneak in before your program loads it will in a much stronger position to wreak havoc.

Pop-up’s or sporadic messages on boot up. Some security programmes may remove the actual malware but leave remnants behind in the registry that try and run programs that do not exist; these will throw up warnings or errors to indicate the failure to load the actual removed malware.

Sudden changes in your web browsers homepage or extra open tabs. Unwanted toolbars or “free” software can often install programs in the background that will try and direct your web traffic to specific sites designed to capture your details or download further malware.

Your contacts are receiving spam emails supposedly from you. Either your desktop machine has been compromised or your online email account has been hacked, change your online email password if the latter or running a full in-depth scan with your regular updating security software may find and delete such unwanted software.

Keep an eye on system resources and any strange unknown system processes. This one’s a bit more technical but it might be an indication that you are infected. There are many online resources that help you figure out what a particular process is for and whether or not it could be damaging.

Computers need updating, renewing and ongoing checks to keep them safe and secure. Remember it’s your computer: if something does not seem right, a sudden blue screen, slow, low on disk space, extra icons on your desktop or the inability to run certain system tools may indicate that you are infected.

Make sure your system is fully up to date and your using the newest operating system you can, install all the updates and patches and make sure you internet security program is updating and has the latest signatures and then run a full scan.


Do you have any other tips for detecting malware?


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