6 Indications That Your Computer Has Malware

close up of a computer laptop showing a warning on the screen due to malware

Experiencing cybersecurity issues on your computer is annoying. In some cases, these issues are not that severe and easy to deal with. Scanning the device with antivirus software and removing corrupted files is usually enough.

In rare instances, you might have to reinstall the operating system to give your computer a clean slate, which includes eliminating any signs of cybersecurity threats.

Having said that, it is still annoying to deal with malware and other cybersecurity threats. Before they manifest and cause further problems, you need to identify these threats and take care of them early.

The purpose of this article is to cover indications that signal how your computer could have malware on it.

Unauthorized Access

One of the first indications of a potential cybersecurity threat is noticing unauthorized access on your computer. And no, we are not talking about leaving the laptop in a public place or not paying attention if someone at your home starts using the computer without your permission. Those are different problems.

surprised woman covering her mouth staring at her computer because it was attacked by a computer virus and malware

The odds are small but not zero. Someone might gain wireless access to your computer. It is recommended to use passwords to prevent such access. Depending on the operating system you use, there might be an additional means of security.

For instance, MacBooks have screen locks. You can learn how to change lock screen on Mac relatively quickly.

Of course, after identifying the problem, you will also need to eliminate the source that is giving unauthorized access. 

Less Storage

If you boot the computer and notice that there is less and less free storage available every day, think about what you have been doing to cause this. If you are not storing more files on the device, it does not make sense that such a thing should happen.

Sure, there is an argument to be made about temporary files, but the accumulation of temporary storage is not significant enough to be noticeable.

The possibility of malware slowly eating away the computer’s drive space is there. Wait for a few days, and if you notice a pattern, treat it as a sign that you might have a potential malware problem on your computer.

Random Files

The lack of storage is one problem, and it is not easy to notice right off the bat. The story is a bit different with random files that appear out of nowhere.

Shortcuts, documents, files without an icon, files with random names, etc., are what you want to avoid. If these files appear again even after you delete them, it is probably the malware doing its work.

Random Restarts and Crashes

Random computer restarts and crashes could be the result of poor overall computer maintenance. Take overheating due to too much dust inside. If internal fans cannot keep up with the hardware demands, the computer reacts and restarts itself to let the system cool off.

Random app crashes could be due to incompatibility between the operating system version and the application version.

Nevertheless, while these issues can manifest due to reasons other than malware, you should still be wary of the fact that cybersecurity threats that affect your computer could be the cause. 

Pop-Ups and Ads

Pop-ups and ads are expected when you are surfing the Internet without an ad blocker extension on your Internet browser. However, what happens when ads and pop-ups start appearing without launching an Internet browser?

The randomness of such things should not be happening. If anything, it is arguably the clearest indication that your computer has malware-related problems you need to fix as soon as you can.

A Different Home Page on an Internet Browser

Another indication that there is malware on your computer is a different home page on your Internet browser.

It is true that some people do not pay attention to what the home page is, but you should not discount it as a sign. If you set a specific page as the home page and notice it changes after launching the Internet browser after a while, do not think that the browser changed it by itself.

If anything, it is because of malware announcing itself. Doing as little as removing the Internet browser and reinstalling it can be enough to eliminate the problem. It also helps if you see random bookmarks and extensions installed. These two things usually indicate malware-related troubles on computers as well. 


So there you have it. The six indications mentioned in the article should give you a better idea of what you can expect in terms of signs that you have malware problems on a computer.

Either one of these indications should be enough to make you take action and work on solving the cybersecurity threat on your computer.

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