What is a Malware Infection?

Sometimes, there are obvious signs that there is malware on your computer, sometimes there is not. At first, the signs are subtle; your Computer seems to have a mind of its own. Malware programs contact other computers for various purposes and each of them is a program of its own, therefore they use system resources such as CPU cycles, memory and an Internet connection. A sudden change in how your computer is running could be a sign of spyware or adware. The really hard part about spotting spyware symptoms is that they often appear to be normal Web or computer operations. So, you may not recognize them as a symptom.

Spyware Symptoms – Symptoms that may indicate a Spyware infection

 

    • One of the oldest and most common spyware tricks is to automatically change your Web browser’s default or start-up homepage – the page that first appears when you start your browser or click the “home” button.
    • You end up in a same strange site, whenever you perform a search.
    • Your firewall and antivirus programs are frequently turned off automatically.
    • You cannot access security related Websites or cannot update your anti-virus definitions.
    • Your network connection’s activity lights blink a lot, when you are not actively doing anything on the internet.
    • You are unable to stop the excessive popup windows that appears from nowhere.
    • Your computer (not just your connection speed) slows down significantly whether online or offline.
    • Strange icons and new shortcuts lurking in your taskbar, system tray or on your desktop.
    • You find new programs in the add/remove programs of your control panel which you don’t ever remember installing.
    • You notice an unusual amount of new favorites and are not sure how they got there.
    • Strange problems occur within windows, (performance issues, programs not working as they should, etc)
    • You are redirected to a strange site instead of 404 error page, when a web page isn’t found.
    • You get frequent alerts from your firewall about an unknown program or process trying to access the internet.
    • You get a lot of bounced back mail and see evidence of e-mails being sent without your knowledge.
    • Your browsing speed becomes very slow since you installed the “ultimate search companion”.
    • Strange and unexpected toolbars appear in your web browser and you don’t know how it got there.
    • Your phone company charges you for ‘1-900’ phone calls you didn’t make.
    • When you try to open spyware eradicating programs like Spybot S&D, Adaware or windows programs like Task manager, Regedit and Msconfig, they just pop up on your screen momentarily and disappear.
    • The Java console appears in your task bar when you hadn’t run any Java software recently.

I would guess that everyone has experienced at least one of these symptoms.  The best way to protect from this is to use a good antispyware/antimalware program and run it regularly.  Don’t wait for the attack to hit because you may not notice it.  Be proactive!