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Is your computer being used for cyberattacks?

by Josef Kafka

Your computer can become a participant in numerous cyberattacks per day and you won’t even know about it. This is through malware that can turn your computer into a botnet slave and allow it to take part in large scale cybercrime like DDoS attacks and other hacking attempts.

But, how do you know if your computer is being used for cyberattacks? If you notice any of these signs, then you should check.

1. Software programs run unusually slow

There are numerous reasons why programs might run incredibly slowly on your computer, so you shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that your system is compromised if suddenly your computer is running unusually slowly. However, if you do suddenly notice a significant speed issue on your computer, then check for the other signs on the list.

2. Your system’s fan suddenly goes into overdrive while the computer is idle

Your computer’s fan should remain relatively quiet when your computer is not in use but on. However, if your fan routinely starts making a lot of noise while the computer is idle, then it is a sign that your computer is completing a lot of tasks in the background. This could be because it has been compromised.

3. Your computer can’t shut down properly

Sometimes this is a problem that’s caused by your operating system having a conflict with legitimate software on your computer. However, it can also be malware on your computer causing it to not shut down or lengthening the process.

4. There’s lots of social media content on your account you didn’t publish

If you suddenly start noticing that your social media accounts are full of new content that you didn’t publish, then you need to check your computer for malware. You should also change your password on those social media accounts and other accounts too. Be sure that the password has one special character, one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter and one number in it to make it secure.

5. Your operating system won’t update

Malware can affect many aspects of your computer. One area that it can really impact is the downloading and installing of operating system updates. While this can happen for other reasons, this is a serious issue. If you can’t update your system, then you’re leaving your computer vulnerable because security patches aren’t being added to your system.

6. Anti-virus updates won’t install

Another update that won’t happen all that often is your anti-virus updates. This can be more troublesome because not only does it mean that you’ve got a virus or malware on your system, but it means that you could potentially get more as new viruses on your system aren’t automatically being detected.

7. Your internet access becomes very slow

If you’re using the internet and then it suddenly becomes very slow, this could be a sign that your computer is being used by malware. It could be participating in a mass spam campaign, DDoS attack or other cybercrimes that use your bandwidth and prevent you from properly using the internet.

8. Strange email messages are sent to your friends and family

If your friends and family suddenly start receiving emails from you that you didn’t send, then this could be a sign that there’s an infection on your machine. Or it could be that hackers have gained access to your webmail. In this case, it’s time to change passwords and assess whether your computer has also been compromised.

9. Task Manager on Windows shows cryptic processes being run

If you open up the Task Manager on your Windows computer, you can see all the processes that are currently being used by your machine. If there are lots of processes with very cryptic names, then you might have malware on your laptop.

10. You’re shown advertisements and pop-ups on your computer when not using the internet

One of the classic examples of your computer being infected is when there are popups and advertisements being shown to you when you’re not using the internet. This is a sign that a criminal has installed some adware onto your computer and this can be more harmful. The adverts could lead to other sites that can install more dangerous malware to your computer or allow access for criminals to steal information from you.

What to do if your computer is infected

If you believe that your computer has become infected by malware and is either part of a botnet or being used in other cybercrime, you should take action. The first thing to do is to run a security scan of your computer and check for malware and viruses.

Then you need to remove these threats from your computer. This can be done by most anti-virus programs available or it can be done by a professional. Whatever route you take, it is important that you do it so you don’t become a victim of further cybercrime like hacking, identity theft or fraud.

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