Computers are unpredictable creatures at the best of times. However, if your PC is continuously playing up with seemingly no rhyme or reason, malware could be to blame for its sudden bout of madness. Here are some of the top signs that could indicate that your computer is infected.
Ads are already annoyingly common as it is on most websites – something you may have noticed unless you’re smart enough to have employed Adblock. However, if almost every internet page and tab that you open is leading you to a pop-up ad, malware could well be behind it. Take note of what kind of ads are popping up. If they’re all links to suspicious looking sites, low-quality ads and pages demanding you to pay money – then it’s probably malware. Most malware will use these ads to try and ransom you into buying some fake anti-virus software. Other ads will deliberately load your computer with more viruses. Avoid clicking on any of them.
Your Browsing Keeps Getting Redirected
Almost every time you Google something you’re taken to a completely different site or browsing engine that you’ve never heard of. If this is happening, it’s not because your computer is lost, it’s because some malicious programme is redirecting you there. Try using another browser and see if you’re getting the same results.
Messages You Didn’t Write Keep Appearing
If Facebook is posting strange statuses that you didn’t write, if emails you didn’t create are appearing in your outbox, if friends are reporting getting sent strange links from you, you’ve most probably got malware (or you need to stop drinking so hard!). Many modern forms of malware will try to hack your social media to spread the virus. If you realise you have malware, log out of every account that you can and only use your phone for social media to prevent your personal details being hacked.
A Rogue Security Programme Has Installed Itself On Your Computer
One of the most common malware tactics is to install a fake anti-virus programme on your desktop, constantly coming up with alerts like ‘Warning! You have over 9000 viruses on your computer’. Most of these will link you to site demanding you to pay to upgrade your software. Do not pay anything! Take your computer into IT support and they will be able to tell you if the warning is legitimate enough (most likely it isn’t).
Programmes and Tools Won’t Work
Some malware will sneakily block programmes like Task Manager and Registry Editor to prevent you from trying to locate the problem. If your trusty Ctrl + alt + del method isn’t having any effect, then you’ll know something is up.
How to Prevent Malware
Buying anti-virus software should protect against most malware. Make sure you’re keeping your anti-virus software constantly renewed. If your antivirus software warns you to stay away from a certain site, follow its advice. You’re better off not taking the risk and staying to sites with a safety tick beside them.