Between 2015 and 2019, 9.9 billion malware attacks occurred worldwide, with 11.08% of computers and 4.86% of smartphones in Australia being infected with malware in 2018 alone. Between July 2019 and June 2020, one cyberattack report was received by the Australian Cyber Security Centre every 10 minutes. With such serious statistics, it’s clear that almost anyone could become a victim – but how would you know if your computer was infected? What signs can you look for?
#1 – Your Antivirus Software Has Been Disabled
Are you sure that your antivirus software is actually running and up-to-date? This feature is often turned off by employees because it can make the computer a bit slower, but it opens you up to viruses and hackers. Some types of malware can even disable the antivirus software itself, leaving you very vulnerable and unable to detect threats. If you cannot seem to get your antivirus working, even after troubleshooting and restarting the system, the computer is likely to have malware on it.
#2 – You’re Being Plagued By Pop-Ups
If unsolicited messages, adverts and windows keep popping up on your computer, it may be infected. A lot of malware causes pop-up ads that are very challenging to remove from the computer’s system. They’re not just annoying – they often have been embedded with far more vicious malware that – if activated – can cause massive problems on your computer as well as compromising any network it is connected to. It could also be tracking your keystrokes, application use and browsing history, scraping up usernames and passwords that can be used by hackers to target you or your business, access bank accounts, and much more.
#3 – Your Desktop is Cluttered with New Icons
Malware causes chaos, installing icons and toolbars that you didn’t choose, installing unknown programs that track your passwords and user names, and travelling through your network to infect other computers. If you see an icon on your desktop that you have not installed yourself, Google its name to check it out. Chances are, it’s a type of malware known as PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs). These PUPs differ in intent and viciousness and can do anything from quietly operating in the background to get your personal and financial information to plaguing you with pop-ups, installing ransomware and opening your business up to data breaches.
#4 – Spam, Spam, and More Spam
Have any of your friends, co-workers, clients or suppliers complained about spam coming from your email, social media or other accounts? If you haven’t been sending this content, then malware has been doing it for you. This is a technique that malware developers use to spread the virus on to other computers. For example, a client gets an email from you while on his network at work and, because you are a trusted contact, they open it and click the link. The link downloads the malware onto their computer, causing a data breach of both their personal and company data. The malware program is set to spam your contacts with this type of content and can cause a huge and costly problem.
#5 – Your Computer is Slow
Computers can be slow for any number of reasons – it may be old and not have the hardware capacity to keep up with modern demands, you may have too many resource-heavy programs running at one time, or you may be behind on your operating system updates. Or it could be infected with malware. Malware often runs in the background while you work, staying as undetected as possible. But because it is using up your system’s resources, it tends to affect the performance of the computer, making it run slower than usual.
Keep Your Computer and Network Safe with Professional Managed IT Services for Small Businesses
An experienced IT security provider like Otto has the experience, expertise and solutions in place to provide businesses of every size with comprehensive security against phishing attacks, malware and ransomware attacks. Not only can we implement comprehensive IT security policies and solutions, but we can also train your employees on safe computer use and cybercrime prevention. For more information, please contact us today.