How to tell if your computer is infected with viruses.

Because we are a fully transparent company. We mention many of our methods and tools and hope that many people can use this knowledge to help better themselves and others.

The Virus Infection Scenerio

You turn your computer on. It loads slowly. Taking longer than usual. Finally you get to the login screen. Type your password and press enter. Looks like the computer is frozen. It eventually logs in. Why is it taking so long?! Is it that your computer is getting old or could it be a sign that you may have a virus?

Sometimes virus infections are obvious. Other times they are deliberately hidden. If you want to know whether or not your computer is infected, you first need to understand the symptoms.

So let’s take a look at some of the common signs.

 

Obvious signs of a virus infection

Ransomware

This is the most obvious. Hackers want to make it perfectly clear that you have their infection because that’s how they make their money. If you have ransomware, you’ll get a pop-up that tells you your files have been encrypted and there’s a deadline to pay a ransom in order to get them back. If you pay the ransom, you only have about 40% chance of getting your data back. If you have this infection, contact us, we may be able to help.

Pop-ups everywhere!

When you finally log into your PC, are you seeing ads on the desktop? Even before a browser is open? How about once you open a normal website like Google, where there are normally no ads before, suddenly there are constant pop-ups? Close one, another opens in its place. Majority of the time, if your screen is has pop-ups, you’re looking at an adware infection. This is usually the easiest to remove. We suggest using Malwarebytes Adwcleaner.

Browser redirects

Lets say you are looking up the latest baseball scores for your team. You go to Bing or Google and type, “Baseball scores for “team name”. Suddenly you are on some site selling medication.  So you click the back arrow and go back to the search results only to click on the link that you are sure brings you to the right place. This time the site brings you to a site selling you cars. Constantly you’re redirected to a different site from the one you’re trying to reach. That is a browser malware infection. Depending on the browser we have a few types of fixes. Google created a cleanup tool for their Google Chrome browser. Firefox has their own short article written up here.

Different home page

Everytime you open up your browser you may always have Google has your home page. But for some reason, Ask.com keeps coming up. You also notice some new toolbars and even may seen some ad windows that you can’t get rid of. This is a sign of a browser infection as well.

 

Less obvious signs of infection

Computer running slow

Back to our original scenerio. Many factors can cause a slow computer. Your anti-virus program can take more resources than it should be using. You could be running too many programs at once or memory is failing. Possibly be running out of hard drive space or hard drive is failing. You may have not defragged in some time. If none of those are true for you and your computer is still slow, it may be possible that you could be infected.

Unfamiliar Icons on your desktop

Imagine a friend told you they could make your computer faster and went on your computer and downloaded a program that advertises it fixes your PC from registery errors and other problems. Maybe perhaps you downloaded this legitimate piece of software based on reviews but the program really is a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP). This is very common problem and your computer could be weighed down by PUPs. To remove PUPs we suggest two programs. Malwarebytes removal tool and Sophos HitmanPro. Both are free to use and suggest using Malwarebytes first and cleanup with HitmanPro.

Browser freezing

If you notice that your internet browser says not responding as soon as you open it or when you type a URL in. This could be a sign of infection.

Bouncing Emails

You will notice this because you login and see all these bounced email messages saying failed to be delivered but you know you didn’t send them.  Maybe even a friend calls you and tells you that you sent an email about viagra and they warned that your account may be compromised.

YIt isour email address was hacked and is now being used to spam the crap out of your contacts list but how did this happen? Malware is most likely the culprit. For this scenerio a good anti-virus would help prevent this issue. Our strongest suggestion is Kaspersky Internet Security for home use and their Business Select for business use (we sell both). However, maybe money is tight, and you are just looking for a free anti-virus. We suggest Avast as the leading free anti-virus vendor (they offer a paid version too).

Constant crashing

There are a couple reasons why your applications or system might crash. Maybe failing hardware or incompatibility between programs and your hardware. However, some forms of malware, such as rootkits, dig deep into the Windows kernel, creating instability, that load even before the operating system starts.  This is one of the worst infections and if you find a rootkit, we suggest wiping the computer if you don’t have the knowledge to remove them. A good rootkit finder is GMER. Good rootkit removal tools are: Kaspersky TDSSKiller and Malwarebytes Anti-Rootkit. These tools are not 100% and may also make your system unbootable. We take no responsibility if anything goes wrong.  Our suggestion is to use the GMER scanner and if something is found, backup your data and prepare to wipe your PC with DBAN.

 

Mobile infections

Battery life drains quickly

All computers can become infected. Don’t think your phone is any different. If you notice your battery life draining quickly, it could be that you have many programs open in the background. Maybe games or music streaming services or just numerous apps you forget to close. It could also be that your battery is failing. If it is neither of those, it maybe a rootkit or malware. We suggest Kaspersky Anti-Virus for android. If you have an Iphone, Apple does not allow anti-virus to run on them. This doesn’t mean your iphone is 100% secure but it just means you need to be more cautious.

Unusually large bill

Pay close attention to your cell phone bill. Are you being charged for messages you didn’t send or phone calls you didn’t make? Are you getting texts from your provider saying you owe money for something you didn’t purchase?

You can protect against mobile threats using anti-malware software designed specifically for smartphones and tablets. For example, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Mobile safeguards Android devices from malware, infected applications, and unauthorized surveillance.

 

Stealth infections

No signs at all

Is your computer running fine? No issues or problems at all? Sadly, you still might be infected. Perhaps a rootkit or maybe spyware. Many forms of malware, including botnets and others designed to steal your data, are nearly impossible to detect unless you run a scan.

Many people may not want to download and install an anti-virus to scan.

Web versions we suggest to scan your computer are: Kaspersky Free Web Scan and ESET Online Scanner.

In fact, whether it’s plainly obviously or there’s no real sign of malware, you should be regularly scanning your computer with security programs like Kaspersky and Malwarebytes. If viruses and malware are detected, the programs will help you remove them. We suggest a full scan once a week when you are not using the computer, perferably during the night.

If you are concerned about your business security, please contact us right away, we are glad to help!