Does Your Computer Have A Malware Infection?

malwareToday we are going to look at the symptoms that your computer may be displaying that are indications of a malware infection.

Visual Symptoms

These are signs that you will see on your computer display, and are the most obvious symptoms.

  • Ransomware  – The last stage of a ransomware or cryptoware infection is the prominent display of instructions on how to pay the attackers to get your decryption key
  • Fake Security Pop-Up – I haven’t seen this exploit for a while, but the fake tech support gangs are using it again.  If you get a security pop-up that asks you to call a phone number, these guys are fakers, and after they take control of you system, you can expect to be infected.
  • Search Redirects – In this case your default search engine, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, is replaced with an impostor search engine.  Your search results link out to obscure website that are not what you are looking for.  Your search engine settings have been changed by a malware exploit.
  • New Home Page – Did your home page change recently?  This is often an indication of a browser malware exploit
  • New Icons – New icons appear on your desktop whenever you install a new program.  Sometimes malware installations do the same thing.  I’ve seen desktop links that clicked away to pornography or pharmaceutical sites in the past.  There is a high likelihood that there is more malware installations for your computer when you get there.
  • Pop-ups – We already discussed fake security pop-ups, but other pop-ups can indicate malware as well. Especially if it is a pop-up storm that opens new windows when you close an existing one, or when pop-ups open that you find you can not close at all.
  • Undeliverable Email – If you are getting a lot of returned, bounced, or undeliverable email, this can indicate that your computer or email account is being used to send spam.  Spamming software is usually installed to many computers in a bot-net.  All of these systems have malware, and lots of it, including remote access Trojan horse programs, and command and control software.

Friday we will look at other symptoms, and some solutions.


About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Serving small business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area since 2001. Cybersecurity and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. I hold several cybersecurity certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Advanced Security Pratitioner (CASP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Other computer industry certifications include A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of security on their computers, networks, and websites. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. I am a frequent speakers at cybersecurity conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference, the (ISC)2 World Congress, and the ISSA International Conference, and many local community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2008.

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