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What Warning Signs Indicate a Computer Is Infected with Malware?

Unexpected RebootsMalware may force a computer reboot. Often, the goal is for the malicious application to reset itself, get around a security control, or more deeply embed itself into the computer’s operating system. If your computer has recently started experiencing puzzling shutdowns and reboots, your problem could very well be malware. That said, failing hardware or a recently installed application may also be the cause. To eliminate these as possible causes, first, apply the latest operating system update. Next, uninstall recent applications starting with the latest. Still no respite? Have a system support technician troubleshoot for hardware problems. If the unprompted rebooting continues, consider yourself likely malware-infected.

BSoD (Blue Screen of Death)There are few things Windows users dread more than the blue screen of death (BSoD). But a BSoD can be a sign of many things. If you have ever looked closely at a BSoD, you will notice it actually includes an error code and/or an explanation of the possible source of the system crash. Just like the random reboots, the BSoD could potentially be a sign of malware because something may be attacking vital system files.

Weird, Unsolicited Emails and TextsMalware may be used to gather as much information on a computer and user as it can, then use this data to launch a more debilitating attack. If this is the goal, your email address and phone number will be key targets. The intention would be to use these as a launching pad for social engineering attacks or to transmit more malware via a URL or an email attachment.  If you suddenly start to receive strange unsolicited emails and text messages that seem to circumvent your service provider’s spam filters, you could be in the midst of a malware-powered onslaught.

Sluggish Behavior or High Data TrafficWhile some data activity happening on your PC at any given moment may be application events in the background, you should not notice continuous slowdowns from things like app updates or backups. If you are noticing your computer slowing down or your data traffic looking unusually high, these are both signs that malware could be using your system resources in the background without you realizing it.  If you experience unusual freezing when doing normal activities that you haven’t experienced in the past, you should get your PC checked for a potential infection.

Strange PopupsMany well-meaning websites use popups to communicate important information. There is however a reason why popup blockers exist. Amidst the sea of good pop-ups, there is a sizable portion of malware-driven pop-ups too.  How do you know a popup is malware? A call to perform an action with urgency is your first red flag. One of the most notorious are popups that apparently alert you of a serious virus infection on your computer then urge you to download a ‘magical’ tool that will fix the problem for good. Except that if you click that download link, you will probably be downloading even more malware on your computer.

Delayed ShutdownThe world of computers has come a long way from the years when shutting down your PC would take 10 minutes or longer. It wasn’t something you looked forward to if you were in a hurry to do something else. Manufacturers soon caught on user sentiment and huge strides have been made that make sure the shutdown and startup processes occur relatively fast. Thus, if your computer takes unusually long to shut down or if the process seems much slower than it used to be, an unwelcome application could be the source of the headache.

Hard Drive Storage Space is Suddenly ReducedIf you look at your hard drive storage space and find it’s suddenly much less than it should be, this is another serious sign that your device could be infected. Certain types of malware will begin filling up your hard drive as they replicate or conduct other malicious activities. Most users won’t notice any change in storage unless they begin having problems or getting error messages. It’s a good idea to check your hard drive storage regularly, at least once per month.

Keep Your Devices Protected With Help From Texas I.T. ProsMalware can be used to steal your confidential data, corrupt your files, and even render your computer inaccessible. Look out for these early signs of malware infection and you will already be halfway there to making sure your computer stays malware-free.  Reach out to us if your Denton or Wise County business is having difficulty identifying or eliminating malware. Call 940-239-6500 or reach out online.

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