If you think your computer is infected with malware, bring it in and we’ll take care of it for you. But what if you’re not quite sure? Watch for these common signs of an infected computer.
If your computer is taking longer than normal to boot, programs seem to take forever to load, or everything generally seems more sluggish than usual, it could be a malware infection. A suddenly slow computer isn’t necessarily an infected computer, but it’s often a sign of a new problem.
If your homepage changes for no apparent reason, you notice new search boxes or buttons on your browser toolbar, or you start to get popups even on sites you know and trust, you almost certainly have an adware infestation. Also watch for unexpected redirects–not all redirects are malicious, but if you can’t get to your usual sites without getting bounced somewhere unexpected, there’s definitely a problem.
Crashes or freezes
There are several possible causes of system crashes and freeze-ups, including failing hardware or compatibility issues, but malware can sometimes make a system crashy and nearly unusable. Run a scan to be safe. Speaking of which…
Antivirus disabled or system tools unusable
Some malware is designed to protect itself by disabling your antivirus program and system tools like Task Manager, or even disabling Windows Update.
Hard-drive or network activity
If your network activity lights are going crazy when there shouldn’t be much traffic, or your hard drive seems to be frantically reading and writing without any programs running, there could be an infection. This can be hard to recognize–certain programs, and Windows itself, normally download updates or perform tasks in the background. If you have a good feel for your computer and network, any system activity that grabs your attention should be investigated. On another note, frantic hard-drive activity can also indicate a failing drive–it’s important to keep your backups current. Last but not least…
Everything seems normal
Yes, even if everything seems fine, it’s still possible that you’re infected. Run (and keep updated) a good antivirus program, regularly run on-demand scanners such as Malwarebytes Anti-malware, and be careful online. And most importantly, remember that we’re only a phone call away if you have questions or suspect that you’re infected.