Tip: Is there Malware on My Computer? – Wichita IT Support

Wichita IT Support Tip for June 1st, 2011

Is there malware on my computer?  This may sound like an odd question.  Most people are under the impression that they will recognize the symptoms of an infection immediately.  Unless you are in tune with the way your computer runs normally (It sounds very Zen, but is actually something a good computer tech will just feel) your system could be infected and not show the classical signs.  Here are some obvious signs (and some not so obvious) that you might keep in mind:

  •  Popups – Everyone recognizes these, from the networking consultant to the average user.  The web browser will pop open with an ad, even when you aren’t using the web.
  • Sluggishness – A sluggish computer can mean multiple things, but if it comes on suddenly and responsiveness is suffering, it might be a sign of infection.  Not all malware is well written, causing performance to degrade.  The system may also be performing a number of tasks that you don’t want it to be performing (like installing even more malware.)
  • Poor Search Engine Performance – This is a newer variant we’ve been seeing a lot of in the past year.  Go to Google and search for the word test.  The first result should be a site called test.com.  Click on the link to visit the site, then look at your address bar.  Are you at test.com, or are you somewhere else?  If you aren’t at the right site, you could have a search engine redirector installed on your machine.  It reads your searches, then compares it to a list of sites the malware writer can make money from, redirecting you there instead.
  • Frequent Email Problems – If more and more people aren’t getting your email, you may have a problem on your machine.  Some malware installs software that actually send spam from your computer.  The more spam sent, the more likely your system will be blacklisted.  Big companies use spam filters that will block email from known spam locations.  Your legitimate email will be lumped in with the other stuff being sent from your machine.
  • Antivirus Issues – You’re on top of the game and have antivirus installed.  Is it working?  Check the icon, usually in the task tray on the bottom right of the screen.  Hover over it.  Does it give any errors or say it is disabled?  A good bit of malware is designed to break your antivirus software.  Make sure it is still running, but don’t count on it to block everything.

If you have any of these issues, it’s time to do something about them.  The first malware that appears on your machine usually opens the door for others.  Once they get a foothold, performance will continue to suffer as well as security.  With this kind of access to your machine, hackers can gather all sorts of data from your machine.

Call Proper Technology Solutions at (316) 337-5628.  We can resolve most of your malware issues without losing data or rebuilding your machine from scratch.  Either remotely or on site, we can clean up your system and restore your optimal performance.  Our technicians are college-educated, certified and familiar with most systems.

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