Symptoms of a malware infection can either be obvious or subtle, depending on the nature of the malicious program. You have legacy threats like computer viruses that can be destructive or more sophisticated malware like spyware that can be challenging to recognize. Let’s see about signs your computer has a virus or malware infection.
Regardless of the type of malware infection, it’s critical to remediate it quickly before it can cause extensive harm. For instance, computer worms or ransomware strains can rapidly infect PCs across a network unless you act fast. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to look for malware. Try a free online virus scan that uses anti-malware technology if you notice any of the following signs of a potentially unwanted program (PUP) on your system:
1. Corrupted Data
Although corrupted data can result from hardware issues, it could also be a sign of malware like a virus, worm, or ransomware infection. Scan your system with a top anti-malware solution if your files and folders are modified and unusable.
2. Missing Data
Not only do viruses and worms modify data, but they also delete files. The difference between the two is that a virus requires human action to propagate while a worm carries out its handiwork on its own once it’s in your system. It’s best to avoid interacting with suspect files, even if it’s an email attachment, a link, or a download.
Do you see strange popups on your screen? While several different malware can hit your screen with popups, the most common suspect is adware. Although adware is not as threatening as other malware, it can track your browsing activity and ruin your computing experience with these popup ads. Adware may also install unwanted toolbars on your browser, hijack your homepage, or add unwanted extensions.
4. Mysterious Computer Activity
Some malware uses your computer’s resources to serve its goals. Here are some instances of mysterious computer activity you should watch out for:
- Processor: Is your processor working overtime without cause? It could be a Trojan, spyware, or even be cryptomining malware that uses your computer to mine bitcoin. Unless applications are updating or running in the background, scan for malware immediately.
- Hard drive: Legitimate background processes can use your hard drive. But a hard drive that’s constantly active could be a sign of malware like a virus, rootkit, spyware, keylogger, or stalkerware.
- Webcam/Microphone: You’ve probably heard of tech leaders like Mike Zuckerberg taping their webcams to shield their privacy. Sophisticated versions of spyware can use your microphone or webcam to watch you or your loved ones. Unless there’s a hardware glitch, use a malware scanner if your webcam or microphone is activating on its own.
5. Strange Messages
Are you receiving strange messages with suspicious links on your email or social media? Are your contacts complaining that they’re receiving uncharacteristic messages from you? Malicious messages can be a sign of a malware infection. Run a malware removal program to eliminate the program.
These are five signs of a malware infection. Not only should you use anti-malware software, but you should also update your operating system to the most secure version to keep your system clean.