You’ve probably heard a lot about spyware or malware that can infect your computer. But what exactly does it do, and how can you avoid it? The best way to keep your personal information safe is to know how to spot the signs of malware infection, and to respond quickly – or better yet, to keep your PC protected from the beginning so spyware doesn’t even have a chance.
Spyware or malware refers to programs that are created by hackers and can reach your computer through the internet. Once they infect your computer, they can monitor your keystrokes, save your passwords, and steal your personal information and email address book. These programs also can redirect you to pornographic websites, spam your email inbox, and slow down your computer, even causing it to crash. In the age of identity theft, the vulnerability of personal information to these types of programs is worrisome.
How can you tell if your computer has been affected by spyware? Here are three warning signs:
Your PC Runs Slower
You may notice that your PC suddenly takes longer to complete simple tasks, like opening new windows, loading web pages, starting up, or shutting down.
Your Browser Changes
You may notice new bookmarks or favorites on your web browser, or new toolbar items that you did not place there. You should be especially concerned if these items are difficult to remove or if they reappear after you remove them. When you first open your web browser, you may notice that your home or start page has changed. When you try to do an internet search, you may also notice that your usual search engine has been swapped for a different one that you don’t usually use.
You Have Constant Pop-Ups & Unexpected Redirects
You may start getting more pop-up advertisements than usual. Getting pop-ups even when you aren’t browsing the internet is an especially important red flag. When you type in a website URL, you may be taken to a different and unexpected website.
Nowadays, spyware and malware programs are becoming sneakier than ever. You may not see any of these signs, but it’s still possible that your computer could be infected. The best way to make sure your information is safe is to keep an antivirus and anti-malware program running at all times. These programs will stop malicious programs from the internet before they can even get to your PC. There are many different choices for PC protection, including Norton, Kaspersky, and BitDefender programs. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for internet security, either – most programs offer more than one year of protection for affordable prices. Make sure to check out the latest special offers to get the best deal on protection for your PC. Remember, the best treatment is prevention!