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by Taylor Mullins

(Part 2) The Hacking Business: Diagnosing Malware Infection

We talked about what exactly malware is in the first part of this series. But, diagnosing a malware infection can be a little like going to WebMD for the common cold. You have a stuffy nose, the website says you could be dying. So this is your disclaimer: just because one of these things is relevant to your system does NOT mean that your computer is about to be pushing up daisies. Stay calm, cool, and collected and call an IT professional. 

However....

These are some things that you should look out for and be aware of. 

Slow Computer

This is the most common symptom of malware infection. If your system is taking ages to start up or your data bandwidth is achingly slow, you could potentially have an infection. If you’ve ruled out other possibilities (damaged hardware, lack of hard drive space, and the like), then you should look into potential malware problems. 
 

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD)

Your computer crashing regularly is either typically a sign of a system problem or a malware infection. To check what has caused your most recent BSOD go to Control Panel> System and Security> Administrative Tools> Event Viewer and select Windows Logs. The recorded crashes will be marked with an “error”. For troubleshooting, contact your IT people.
 

Closing Programs

Occasionally programs will close or open without warning. This is hard to determine though, as some programs behave this way OR may not be compatible with your hardware. Check these things off the list before assuming you have a malware infection.
 

Pop-ups, unwanted programs, toolbars

It’s 2016 and most people should know better. However, if you click on a suspicious link, install free applications, or answer random survey questions for site access, you are pretty much inviting a virus. Following these actions, you may see pop-ups or other unwanted ad-ons on your computer. If you get a pop-up, do NOT click on the pop-up page. Exit out of the window and use an anti-malware tool pronto.
 

Spam from "You"

We’ve all seen it: those posts on Twitter, Facebook, through email, that are seemingly coming from your friend but say they’ve found Ray-Bans on sale for $9.99. This is spam. You could potentially be a victim of spyware, caused from *ahem* weak passwords or forgetting to log out of an account. 

Malware infection symptoms are certainly not limited to these listed. If you think your system might be infected with malware, or you would like to know how you can prevent these infections, give us a call.

Up Next: Why Criminals Hack