When a computer gets infected with malware, it’s not easy to spot the threat immediately. Most of the time, when a device gets infected, the malware or virus will stay quiet for a while and will then deploy its action.
However, there are telltale signs you’ll notice when your device has been infected by malware. Although some, like spyware and cryptominers, are still quite difficult to detect. You will experience the following when a threat has invaded your computer’s system.
- Experience a slow computer
- Unknown computer programs are launching by themselves
- Pop-up messages that are hard to remove and from an unknown source
What is a Malware?
Malware is often used interchangeably with the word virus. But a virus is a form of malware. There are different forms of malware that can infect your PC – spyware, ransomware, trojans, worms, adware, and more. No matter what form of malware gets to infect your device, it aims to steal valuable information and sell them on the dark web or ask for ransom.
Whether you are using a PC or Mac, malware will find a way to get into your device’s system and perform its necessary action. Therefore, knowing the signs of an infected device early on can make a huge difference. You can save yourself from losing your identity and money when you spot a threat.
How Can Your Device be Infected with Malware?
Now that you know what malware is, you might wonder, how can you get infected by such a malicious program? There are many ways malware can get into your device, and here are some of them.
- Fraudulent websites: These are webpages that copy or impersonate popular brands or names. Once you click on it, it will download malware into your device.
- Free programs or downloads: Free apps and software are not free. Most of the time, it comes with malware-infected add-ons like spyware or browser hijackers.
- P2P sharing: Peer-to-peer sharing and illegal downloading on the torrent are popular activities. But it’s also a way for hackers to inject malicious codes into files so someone can download them.
- Removable media: Malware stored on USBs, DVDs, or CDs can infect devices by cross-contamination. There are also hard to detect malware such as firmware. Threats like firmware are embedded in the hardware of the device.
- Clicking on links: Alway be cautious with emails containing attachments or links from unknown sources. If you want to know about the link’s content, go to the browser and type the link instead of clicking on it.
- Outdated software or system: Not having the latest software updates can cause vulnerability on your system. Hackers can find a way to inject their threat on outdated systems and programs.
- No security software program: Security software helps detect threats that enter the system and even prevent users from downloading an infected file or clicking on a link.
What can Malware Do to Your Device?
Once a malware threat is in your device’s system, it can do many things to your data and device.
- Steal data
- Restrict access to your data and files
- Slow down your computer
- Spread throughout your network
- Disrupt daily operation or activities
The best way to prevent being infected by malware is to practice safety measures like using security software, avoid clicking on links, and so on. But what if your device is already infected? What should you do to get rid of malware?
How to Get Rid of Malware?
Backup All Files
Before removing any malware, make sure to backup all your valuable files to an external source. You can use a DVD, CD, USB, or cloud storage to back up your files.
Disconnect Your Device from the Internet
The first thing is to disconnect so you won’t transfer any data to the malware server. It’s always best to stay offline until the threat is removed. If you need to download a tool to remove the malware, you can connect to the internet and disconnect as soon as the download is complete.
Enter into Safe Mode
Safe mode permits devices to check performance while using a minimum number of programs and services. Hence, malware that automatically starts is prevented from running on the safe mode.
How to Make Your PC Run on Safe Mode:
- Restart PC
- When on the sign-in screen, hold the Shift key and select Power > Restart
- After Restart, go to Choose Option > Troubleshoot> Advanced Options > Startup Settings
- Click Restart and wait for the screen to load
- Select number 4 or F4 when a menu with numbered startup options appear so you can go to safe mode.
Don’t Log in to any Account
Once you have entered into the safe mode, make sure you don’t login into any of your accounts. The goal of malware is to access your personal information, which happens by tracing your keystrokes or getting it from your clipboard or screen.
Delete Temporary Files
Removing temporary files can speed up the process of scanning your device. Look for Disk Cleanup on the search box of the taskbar and run it.
Check for Malware in Activity
Check activity monitor for malicious software running on your PC. The activity monitor will show all applications running on your computer and how their performance affects your PC.
To monitor your computer’s activity go to Search Bar > type Resource Monitor > right-click the app you want to stop from performing > click End Process.
Run a Malware Scanner
Using a malware scanner to detect and get rid of malicious software programs are effective. It can remove standard infections, and together with an antivirus software application, you can detect the malware in your device. In addition, you can also download an on-demand malware scanner to run whenever you want.
Get a software program that specializes in such and makes sure that it comes from a credible source.
Here are some examples of malware scanner and cleaner you might want to try:
Iolo Malware Killer
One of the best malware detection software is created by Iolo. Their Iolo Malware Killer is a tried-and-tested software application that can detect and remove dangerous malware on your computer. It uses a cloud-based scanning analysis to detect and analyze threats. It enables the heuristic algorithm to reduce the detection time, especially for new threats.
Iolo Malware Killer can also detect even the most treacherous malware that’s hiding in your device. Get your Iolo Malware Killer activation key and start scanning for malicious programs.
Malwarebytes premium software gets to protect your devices from malware and other threats with 24/7 real-time protection. Furthermore, when you go online, you get the privacy you need from hackers, ad companies, and internet providers.
When you run Malwarebyte, it doesn’t hog your system’s resources or shows annoying notifications all the time.
Fix Your Browser
After scanning, you need to modify your browser’s homepage to avoid reinfection of your device. Check your homepage address if it’s what you are always using and it’s legitimate. Follow it with checking for malicious extensions and add-ons. If there is any present, disable or remove them from your browser.
After clearing your browser for unknown extensions and add-ons, you should also clear your cache. Clearing your cache depends on the browser you use.
- Click the gear icon on the top right corner to access the Settings windows
- Go to Safety and click Delete Browsing History
- Go to History
- Click Clear Browsing Data
- Choose All Time
- Click Clear Data
Now you have a clean PC, and you can start using it without worrying about any malware or spyware trying to spy on your data or personal information.
However, if the malware is still present, your only choice is to clean your hard drive and reinstall your operating system. If you don’t want to clean your hard drive, you can contact your Microsoft support team. They can provide you with information that can help you fix the issue.
If you don’t want to experience any malware infection, take some steps to prevent future occurrences.
How to Prevent Getting Malware Infection in Your Device
Always Update Your Software and Operating System
Updating your software when updates are available should become a frequent habit. It lowers the chances of becoming hacked. If you don’t have the time to update software or applications frequently, you can use an application to update your system automatically.
Use a Two-factor Authentication System
If you are infected with keyloggers, it could compromise your accounts, as this type of malware monitors all your keyboard activities. So, every password you input can be seen and exploited by hackers. Using two-factor authentication can give more security to your accounts. It will provide a login code so you can access your account after you input your password. Codes use or sent are unique and different that it changes all the time.
Creating Strong Passwords
It is crucial to create strong passwords so hackers won’t be able to decipher it. Make sure to follow the proper guidelines when creating a password.
- Combine upper and lower cases
- Add a number and a symbol
- Don’t use a short password or any personal data
- Don’t use common passwords
- Avoid recycling passwords
- Don’t use memorable keyboard paths
Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links
Whenever you received an email with an attachment or a link, do not immediately download the file or click on the link. Even if you have received a file from your colleague, don’t click on the link. There are software programs that can detect if an email is spam or a website is fake.
Install an Antivirus Software
Besides the malware scanner installed on your PC, you need to include an antivirus software program. There are plenty of antivirus software programs you can invest in for your device. You need to look for one that can provide you with what you need.
Knowing the signs of an infected device early on can make an immense difference. You can immediately save your device from being damaged and protect your data from being stolen. In addition, safe practices and using the right protection software program can help in the long run.