If your computer is suddenly running slower than usual, chances are that your computer has been infected by a malware. Malicious software is passed around the internet by hackers to gain access to your personal files, webcam, your keyboard inputs, and much more. If you suspect that your computer has been hacked by a malware, read on to find more about methods to diagnose and remove them.
Hackers are quite smart nowadays, and you may not even notice when they infect your computer. They take advantage of the people who don’t follow basic safety measures on the internet. There are some obvious signs that you can diagnose to find out if your device has been hacked or filled with malware. But first, take a look at the things you need to know about the common types of malware that hackers use to infect your devices.
Types of Malware That You Need to Look Out for
These days, hackers have started using sophisticated malware and tools to gain control and steal data from an unsuspecting victim’s computer. Here are a few of the most notorious malware that could infect your device.
The most common type of malware that can be present on a device is probably adware. It is a type of malware that injects ads into running programs and windows. This is generally done by hackers to get ad revenue by forcing the user to interact with them.
- Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse is a type of malware that can infect your devices by disguising itself as something useful to the user. This could be an email, an appealing software, a special gift for the user, and many other things. Once infected, the trojan horse steals the data and sends it back to the hacker who programmed the malware.
Perhaps the worst kind of malware that your device can get infected with is ransomware. A ransomware encrypts all your data on the device and makes it completely inaccessible until you pay a certain ransom to the hacker. You can also be completely locked out of your device until you pay them.
- Viruses and Worms
These types of malware are most commonly referred to when talking about digital security threats. They can spread themselves many times throughout the device storage without any dependence on running programs or services. They also don’t require any input from the user of the device.
You should now have a basic idea of the types of malware that may affect your device. Read on to find out more about how to diagnose if you have been infected by malware and methods to get rid of it.
How to Diagnose Malware?
The complexity of malware is ever-increasing and hackers are devising new ways of infecting your devices on a daily basis. This antimalware battle could be won using such tools. But you can’t solely rely on an antivirus program to take care of every single threat that your devices face.
Here is a list of things you need to check to determine if a malicious program has infected your device.
Program Slowdowns and Extra Heat
When malware is present on your device, it eats up your resources and works in the background. You may notice constant crashes or freezes when using the operating system. This is often accompanied by heating up of the device because of increased resource usage.
The system grows sluggish over time and boot times get longer. If you notice these things on a daily basis, then you may need to check for the presence of Viruses, worms, or trojan horses on your device.
In Windows PCs, you can find out the culprit by using Task Manager to monitor your CPU usage. If any single process uses near 100% of your CPU resources, then you need to check if the process has been infected with malware. Similarly, for MacOS, you can use Activity Monitor to check your list of open processes and services, and then check the process that uses excessive resources for signs of malware infection.
Random Pop-Ups, Unrecognised Software, and Advertisements
Check your device for random pop-up ads asking you to update your OS and apps. You can also look for unknown software on the device not installed by you. If you find any of these symptoms, then it is most likely the work of adware and other spyware. Hackers can modify the ads you see while browsing the internet. You also get intrusive notifications all the time when adware is present on your device.
In Windows, you can manually uninstall these malicious programs using the control panel. For MacOS, open Finder and search for the extra apps that were not installed by you, and uninstall them. Alternatively, you can use Malwarebytes on both Windows and MacOS to get rid of adware and spyware on your device.
Unknown Browser Extensions and Slow Network Speeds
Hackers use a process called DNS hijacking through malware to redirect your legitimate webpages to malicious ones, and this results in decreased network speeds. You may also notice that you have unrecognised browser extensions or toolbars. These are all signs of exploitation by hackers to earn ad revenue, infect your device, and install additional malware.
Most modern browsers have the option for resetting to default settings which can remove any malicious extensions and toolbars. If you don’t want to reset your browser, then you can go to the extension manager, and remove anything that looks even slightly malicious.
Login/App Access Blocked by Demands of Payment
If you cannot log in to your PC because of a permanent pop-up on the screen, or if your data is not accessible, chances are that you have been hacked with ransomware. This is a worst-case scenario, and the hackers can threaten to leak your files and data if you don’t pay them. If you encounter these types of malware, there are two things you can do. Depending on the type of ransomware, removal can range from either being simple to totally impossible in some cases.
In case the ransomware didn’t encrypt your files, then there are several tools available that can remove it. But, if your files have been encrypted, your best option is to format your data and start anew. For ransomware, prevention is the best way to keep your device safe.
Globally hackers use malware on a daily basis to target unsuspecting victims. The best way to prevent your device from getting hacked by malware is to prevent the infection in the first place. Make sure that you have reliable antivirus software present on your PC that can scan files and network connections in real-time.
Also, avoid clicking suspicious links on web pages and downloading unauthorized software to avoid malware. In case your device still gets infected, the tips listed above should help you to diagnose and clean your system.