Sometimes computers do strange things that ring alarm bells and the next thing is that you’re running virus scans and demanding everyone come clean about their browsing habits. Fortunately, not all weird occurrences are caused by viruses – sometimes your computer is simply overloaded, overheating or in desperate need of a reboot.
Here are some tell-tale signs of a malware attack:-
1. Bizarre error messages
Look for messages popping up from nowhere that make no sense, are poorly worded or plain gibberish – especially if they’re about a program you don’t even have. Take note of anti-virus warnings too, check the warning is from YOUR anti-virus software and also that it looks like it should.
If a message pops up that isn’t quite right, don’t click. Not even to clear or cancel the message. Close the browser or shut down the computer instead, then run a full scan.
2. Suddenly deactivated anti-virus/malware protection
Certain viruses are programmed to take out the antivirus/antimalware security systems first, leaving you open to infection (this is why we advise our customers to always have all the system tray icons visible on the taskbar, on the bottom right-hand side). If you reboot and your protections aren’t back doing their job, you may be under attack. Attempt to start the anti-virus manually.
3. Social media messages you didn’t send
Are your friends replying to messages you never wrote? Your login details might have been hacked and your friends are now being tricked into giving up personal information or worse. Change your password immediately, and advise your friends of the hack.
4. Web browser acting up
Perhaps you’ve noticed your homepage has changed, it’s using an odd search engine or opening/redirecting to unwanted sites. If your browser has gone rogue, it could be a virus or malware, usually one intended to steal your personal or financial details.
Skip the online banking and email until your scans come up clear and everything is working normally again.
5. Sluggish performance
If your computer speed has dropped, boot up takes longer and even moving the mouse has become a chore, it’s a sign that something is wrong – but not necessarily a virus. Run your anti-virus scan and if that resolves it, great. If not, your computer possibly needs a tune-up or quickie repair.
6. Constant computer activity
You’re off the computer but the hard drive is going, the fans are whirring, and the network lights are constantly flashing? Viruses and malware use your computer resources, sometimes even more than you do. Take note now of what’s normal, and what’s not.
Got a virus? Give us a call at 01455 209505.