- Popup ads appear, even when no browser is open.
Sometimes these ads are legitimate products, but often they contain links to malicious websites.
- Browser navigation gets redirected.
Not every site redirection is malicious, but if you find that trying to reach Google takes you to an unfamiliar site, you’ve got a problem. However, the redirection can be more subtle than that; a banking Trojan might divert your browser to a fraudulent site that looks like your bank’s real site. Be sure to check the URL in your Address Bar.
- A security program you never installed pops up scary warnings.
The perpetrators of such programs use drive-by downloads or other sneaky techniques to get the fake antivirus onto your system, then display scary warnings about made-up threats. Generally, you have to pay for the fraudulent tool to “fix” the problem. It will also scan very fast, since it’s not actually doing anything.
- Posts you didn’t write appear on your social media pages.
Malware focused on social media sites propagates by generating fake posts. Typically these posts include an inflammatory statement of some kind. Anyone who falls for the fake and clicks the link will become the next victim.
- A program holds your PC for ransom.
Some programs literally hold your PC or data for ransom. Threats may encrypt all your pictures and documents and demand that you pay to get them back. Others try to obscure what they’re doing. For example, they may display a warning supposedly from a government agency stating that your computer was used illegally and you must pay a fine before you’re allowed to use it again.
- Suddenly you can’t use common system tools.
If you suddenly find that trying to use Task Manager, Registry Editor, or other system tools triggers a message saying your Administrator has disabled them, it may well be an attempt at self-defense by malware on your system.
- Sometimes, there is no sign.
Some types of malware do their best to hide all activity. Even when you don’t notice anything unusual, it’s possible there may be malware on your system.
To defend against malware, be sure to install a powerful antivirus utility or security suite. Make sure to keep your antivirus fully up to date, and run a full scan regularly. If you think your computer has a virus, or are unsure whether a program running is a virus, contact NGT for help.
Read the article by Neil J. Rubenking at PCMag.com.