5 Top Tips For Identifying Signs Of Malware

We all know what a big hassle a malware infection can be. By identifying the symptoms of the malware infection and the means available to clean malware on your PC you can restore the machine to a stable state and also safe-guard it from any future malware attacks. The following 5 recommendations should go a long way to help you recognize any signs of a malware contamination.

1. Software

One of the easiest methods of locating malware on a machine would be to run anti-malware software. Many anti-malware and anti-virus software such as GFI VIPRE Antivirus Business include real-time protection, spyware and adware protection as well as unknown malware detection. The advantage of having real-time scanning is that all the 24/7 protection is done by the anti-virus product itself. This means that users do not have to perform frequent scans to ensure their machine is malware free.

2. PC slowdowns

Malware is well known for slowing down machines, be it network performance or the speed of application use. Naturally, just having a slow PC does not necessarily mean your machine is infected. Other factors can cause a machine to slow down, for example a fragmented system and/or lack of memory. It would therefore be advisable to check these things and schedule some routine maintenance, such as defragmenting your hard-disks, running a check-disk and a disk cleanup. Should the machine remain slow, the most likely cause would be malware.

3. Pop-ups

A recent, annoying sign of malware is the pop-up. Lately, there has been a boom of porn-related pop-up malware issues. Unwanted pop-ups are a sure sign of malware infection. The problem here is that they can’t always be removed in a conventional manner. In some cases, the machine must be booted into safe mode. As is the case with all malware, you’ll need a strong anti-malware application to remove them.

4. Change of home and/or Google links

Another common sign of malware infection is the sporadic web browser home page change. The same is true if you search using a search engine, click on a provided link, and are sent to a random link. If you’re seeing this behaviour, you have a malware or virus infection.

5. Browser offline

If you cannot get to the internet but you are sure that network connectivity is fine (you can ping a public DNS such as 4.2.2.2) you might be suffering from a malware infection. First thing to check is if you are using any foreign proxy in your Internet Options -> LAN Settings. Some malware configures your browser to pass through an unsafe proxy. You’d definitely want to remove those proxy settings.

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Emmanuel Carabott CISSP heads security research at GFI Software. He has over 12 years’ experience in the security field and is a regular contributor to several websites and blogs. For more information about the benefits of using email usage reporting.