We all lock our doors when we leave the house to avoid someone coming in and stealing our belongings. This is common sense and taking care of your IT security should be too. The same way that a car following you at 10 pm is suspicious and possibly a warning sign, there are similar warning signs of a malware infection. Be aware of the following signs, if you are not already, and avoid the loss of your valued property.
Stay alert- spot the following:
- Slow computer
If your computer is running slowly, there is a problem. If your operating systems and programs take a while to start up or your data bandwidth is slow, your computer may have a virus.
However, you should check if there are other reasons for your computer slowing down. Check if you are running out of RAM, have a shortage of space on your hard drive or have damaged hardware. If these are working fine, a virus may have infected your device.
- Blue screen of death (BSOD)
Oh, the dreaded blue screen of death. If your device crashes regularly it is usually either a technical issue or a malware infection. Before assuming it’s a virus, check that you have installed the latest drivers for your device and that the programs you are running are compatible with your hardware.
To check what caused your last BSOD go to Control Panel>System and Security> Administrative Tools>Event Viewer and select Windows Logs. Those marked with an “error” are your recorded crashes. It’s best to contact your IT department for assistance.
- Programs opening and closing automatically
Malware can be the cause of programs opening and closing automatically, however, like above, check that the programs you are running on your device are compatible with your hardware first.
- Lack of storage space
There are types of malware that fill up your hard drive with suspicious files. If you come across an unknown program, do not open it. Search the internet for what it is, and if you are sure its malware, use the necessary antivirus to protect your device.
- Pop-ups, websites and other unwanted programs
Possibly the most annoying of malware, pop-ups happen when you click on suspicious pages or answer survey questions, for example. When a pop-up appears, don’t click on it! Doing so can cause your device to become infected. Another way malware infects your device is through free applications. Installing a free program can bring unwanted websites and programs filled with viruses. Be cautious when downloading something for free, it could save your device.
- You’re sending out spam
You might be spamming people over social media or email and not know it. Hopefully someone tells you and you can take the necessary steps, because you are possibly a victim of malware. However, to safeguard your device, set strong passwords to your accounts and don’t forget to log out of accounts!