PandaLabs list of ten malware infection symptoms
PandaLabs has issued a list of ten ways to tell if your computer has been infected:
- My computer speaks to me – you get messages via pop-ups or surprise warnings when you aren’t browsing. If one of the warnings is that your computer has been infected, it probably has. But don’t follow any advice to accept a free scan – it will probably be rogue software and will infect you with something far worse.
- My computer is running extremely slowly – which could be a malware infection, or it could simply be poor system functioning. Zone Alarm has recently been offering a free system checkup, and quoting a recent survey of 35,000 computers: “64% were slowed by improper settings”. The software used by Zone Alarm for this checkup is provided by iolo technologies, the developer and supplier of System Mechanic. Whatever you do, however, do not accept a cold call offering of help over the telephone. It might just possibly be genuine, but is far more likely to be a scam – which is currently increasing (see David Harley on Support scams and Social Engineering)
- Applications won’t start – well this could simply be that you are running more processes than you have memory; but it could be a virus.
- I cannot connect to the Internet or it runs very slowly – which could be poor comms configuration or ISP problems, or a virus. Similarly, slow internet performance could be the same; or a virus simultaneously opening separate connection sessions.
- Unexpected windows or pages open while surfing – a sure sign of infection. Many threats are designed to redirect traffic to certain websites against the user’s will, and can even spoof Web pages, making you think you are on a legitimate site when really you have been taken to a malicious imitation.
- Where have my files gone? Most modern threats are designed to steal information rather than damage your computer; but some viruses are still harmful. So unless you know you’ve done something yourself, it probably means you’ve got a particularly spiteful infection. You’ll have to rely on your backup systems; which I just know you’ve got, right?
- My antivirus has disappeared, my firewall is disabled – if you didn’t do it, an infection probably did. It’s a common characteristic so a pretty sure sign you’re infected.
- My computer is speaking a strange language – if the language of certain applications changes, the screen appears back-to-front, strange insects start ‘eating’ the desktop… you might just have an infected system.
- Library files for running games, programs, etc. have disappeared – means you didn’t install it probably, the game is full of bugs, or you’ve got an infection.
- My computer has gone mad – if it starts doing things on its own, sending emails, connecting to the internet, opening applications, then you’re probably infected.
This is a useful list. The problem, however, is clear: you may have an infection, you may have a poorly configured computer, or you may be a paranoid psychotic – or all three. The best solution is not to worry about it until you know for certain; but find out for certain. Run Panda’s free online ActiveScan and install its free Panda Cloud Antivirus. Don’t wait – do it at the first suspicion; that is, now.