Malware is a shortened way of saying “malicious software”. In short, malware is any kind of programme written with malicious intent. Things like viruses, spyware and Trojans are all types of malware, so malware isn’t a specific type of virus, more a way of describing any malicious type of software written with bad intent. Malware can be written or created by anyone, including hackers just looking to have fun to government intelligence agencies looking to gather information. There are also criminal organisations that are intent on stealing personal information from unsuspecting internet users.
Malware can be very dangerous as it can be used to disrupt businesses, steal information or even blackmail users into handing over money. If you want to protect your business or personal devices from malware, it’s important to know what malware is and what you should be looking out for.
Signs your computer might be affected by malware
There are a number of things you should be looking out for when using your computer, tablet or phone, as these could be signs that your device has been infected with malware.
- Your computer is running slower than usual and normal tasks are taking much longer
- There are unusual pop-ups when you are using an internet browser
- Your computer might stop working or crash unexpectedly
- Your hard drive is working harder than usual. You can see this in the task manager on Windows devices.
- Your web browser homepage has changed
- Unusual programmes open when you launch your computer
- Your friends, family or colleagues report unusual email or social media messages that appear to come from you
- Your device battery is running out faster than usual
- Unusual error messages pop up or won’t go away
- Your security software has been disabled
- You cannot access your computer at all
What to do if you suspect your computer has been compromised
One of the biggest problems with internet security is that users fail to act quickly. At the first sign that you think something might be wrong with your computer, you should ask an expert for help. If you keep using the computer you risk compromising your files, spreading the malware to another computer or giving the malware creator access to your personal information. If you work in an office, malware can spread very quickly through your local network, so you should disconnect the computer from any networks and revoke the device’s access to any cloud accounts.
Letting an expert look at the computer is far better than trying to fix the problem yourself. If your computer has access to internet banking accounts, it’s important to let your bank know that this information may have been compromised. Your bank will be able to update your internet banking security passwords and may send new bank cards if you are concerned that you may have entered your bank details while your computer was infected.
If you are ready to out task your IT security, get in touch with our team at BCN Group to discuss your needs.