You have probably heard about computer viruses. You may have even been victim to one of their attacks. Computer viruses are just one type of harmful computer software known as Malware. Malware – short for malicious software – is used to disrupt computer operations by causing damage or performing unwanted tasks. But what is the point? Malware can be used to corrupt files, gather personal data, or access private systems. It can be used to manipulate you in to purchasing fake software. Sometimes malware is simply just a way for hackers to brag about their skills.

How do you know if your computer is infected?

How can you protect against malware?

What do you do if your computer is infected?


Let’s first take a look at some of the different types of malware.

  • Ransomware will lock down your computer and display a message (often claiming to be from a law enforcement agency) requesting payment to restore computer functionality. Like its name suggests, ransomware blackmails the user demanding money to release control of the system.

  • Rootkits are software that conceal malicious programs and hacks. They can keep malware code from being read or removed.

How can you tell if you have malware on your computer?

Here are a few common symptoms that may indicate the presence of a virus or other malicious software:

  • Your computer or internet is suddenly running slower than normal.

  • Programs unexpectedly open or shut down.

  • Your computer frequently freezes or suddenly shuts down.

  • The hard drive is running more than normal or non-stop.

  • The computer’s hardware is functioning on its own (i.e. CD tray randomly opens self).

  • You receive unexpected warning, pop-up, or error messages.

  • You are suddenly locked out of your computer.

  • Programs become inaccessible.

  • Files or folders disappear.

  • Settings have been changed and cannot be adjusted or restored.

  • There are messages in your e-mail sent folder that you did not send.

  • You find posts on social media that you did not make.

How can you keep your computer from being infected?

The symptoms may not always be obvious. So make sure you protect yourself from malicious software.

  • First, familiarize yourself with the types of malware and common sources. The more you know the less likely you are to become a victim of malicious software. Lucky for you, you have done just that while reading this blog!

  • Use protection. Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date.

  • Update your computer regularly. Operating system updates can fix bugs that may be exploited by hackers.

  • Back up your computer regularly in case you need to reset or recover it.

  • Be cautious of third-party software or applications requesting access to programs or system info. If it seems fishy it probably is.

  • Do not open unexpected e-mail attachments or attachments from unknown sources – especially any computer command files that could possible run a program (files ending in .exe, .com, .bat).

  • Do not click links in e-mails. Especially avoid links for banking or other websites with personal data. Use a link you have bookmarked or retype the website into the address bar.

  • Do not click on links in unexpected instant messages.

  • Do not open documents or run programs from unknown sources (i.e. file sharing sites, pirated software or media).

What do you do if your computer becomes infected with malware?

Although these tips will help prevent infections, nothing is completely foolproof. If a virus or malware happens to slip into your system, come see us at Tech Armor. We can have your computer cleaned up and running again in no time!