How Do You Know If You Have a Malware Infection

A description of symptoms that my indicate you have a malware infection: A computer virus, adware, or spyware.

How do you know if your computer has been infected with malware; a virus, adware, or spyware? Well, that can vary depending on the type of infection and how observant you are of how your computer is behaving.
Some malware is designed to make their presence known, such as a prank virus that displays some funny message, or a virus that is designed to do immediate damage to your computer and tell you about it as it is doing it. Other malware is harder to detect because it is designed to hide itself and do it’s dirty deeds in secret. Being observant of how your computer is a good thing but it is no guarantee that you will detect a malware infection. That being said here are some symptoms that might indicate your computer has been infected:

  • Your computer slows down. If your computer opened applications and documents relatively fast in the past, and now it is taking a long time to perform these same operations you might have a malware infection. Although there can be other causes for this also, it should be investigated.
  • Your internet connection slows down or is disabled. This might indicate a malware issue. But keep in mind there are many other things that can cause this symptom too, such as high network traffic, incorrect settings, or router/modem problems, or internet provider issues. You should check all possible causes and also try again later, if heavy network traffic is the issue, you should be ok later when there is less traffic.
  • Your computer frequently locks up, shuts itself off or gives you odd error messages. Again there could be other causes for this, but it should definitely be investigated as a possible malware infection.
  • Your computer connects to or tries to connect to the internet without you telling it to do so. It is possible this is just your system or software trying to update, but it could also be malware trying to use your internet connection to transmit data, or spread itself.
  • Your friends are responding to emails you didn’t send. It is very possible malware is sending email messages from your account.
  • Your homepage changes without you changing it. This is often malware, or adware.
  • Your computer’s settings are changed and anti-virus software is disabled without your knowledge.
  • Unknown files appear on your computer, your file names and file content is changed.
  • Pop-up ads appear when you are not connected to the internet.
  • Your internet searches direct you to sites that you did not want to go to.
  • Scanning software indicates that you have an infection.

All, some or none of these symptoms could occur if you have a malware infection. The best way to know is to scan your computer with a good anti-malware program.

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