Chilling in front of your screen on your own doesn’t always mean you are actually alone. Hackers never rest and are always looking for vulnerable places on your computer to steal your data. By clicking on different banners and sites you might let them into your computer without even knowing it. A low battery life, the slowing down of your computer, programs that are not responding, or an abruptly changed homepage can be some serious signs that someone else is using it.
We want to raise our readers’ awareness about data stealing by describing the signs that spying malware could be on your computer. In the bonus, we also included simple tips for how to avoid getting suspicious viruses and programs on your computer.
1. Laptop discharges too fast.
If some unwanted software is running in the background while your laptop is on, it uses its central processor power. Some programs like this can be spyware or viruses. A short battery life can also be a sign that someone’s cryptomining with your processor or it’s infected with malware. They cause a computer to get hot, and laptops to discharge way faster than usual.
2. Programs act up and crash frequently.
Hackers are always looking for new ways to collect your data. They can put a code into your apps to make them collect all the needed information. This can make an app run slower, act up, and crash a lot. To protect yourself, try not to put your financial data like your credit card numbers or codes into apps, and always create a complicated password.
3. Your computer runs slower.
If your computer is pretty new, and you notice that all of a sudden it doesn’t work as fast as it is supposed to, this is suspicious. It can be a sign that it’s infected with malware like a worm or a Trojan horse. Such dangerous software can come to your computer through programs that you download, as it’s often disguised as legitimate software. They consume a lot of the processor’s resources, which makes your computer run slower.
4. Webcam suddenly starts recording.
It’s not a good sign if you notice that your webcam records and the microphone is on all by itself. This can be alarming, because if someone is spying on you, not only are they trying to steal your data, but they can also take photos of you and record your voice. It’s better to cover your camera with some tape, turn your microphone on only when needed, and change your passwords frequently.
5. Unknown lights blink on your computer.
Another sign that you should pay attention to: unknown sending and receiving on your computer. When someone else is controlling your computer, you might notice that it has the send and receive lights blinking even if you are not active. A virus or a spy malware can download and upload data from and on your computer without you even knowing it.
6. A lot of pop-up ads appear.
Sometimes, while surfing the internet, you might accidentally click on a suspicious banner. This banner can inject your computer with an advertising virus that will make ads and plug-ins pop up all around your screen. Not only is it annoying to see, but it also allows hackers to get access to your data via your computer
7. You notice that the homepage has suddenly changed.
One more alarming sign is the state of your browser’s homepage. If you open it and notice that it’s different from what you usually have, you need to pay attention here. Also, you might notice that your browser opens and gives you completely different websites from what you try to open. This means that your computer is infected with some sort of spying software.
8. Your browser constantly gets redirected.
If you search something on Google and it redirects you to an unfamiliar and suspicious website, instead of showing the results of your search, this is problematic. This might be an unwanted Trojan. In this case you need to check the extensions of your browser and delete those that you didn’t install yourself.
9. You notice unknown programs installed on your computer.
One of the most common ways your computer can be monitored remotely is through malware. You should regularly check the programs that installed. Sometimes some unwanted software can be installed, while you were trying to install something in a bundleware. If you notice some suspicious program that you’ve never tried to get on your computer — you should delete it immediately
10. You notice suspicious browser activity.
It’s always a good idea to check your browser’s history from time to time for the sake of security. If you notice that there are websites that you never went to, this might be a sign that you need to pay attention to. Suspicious browser activity can also mean that someone who’s spying on you has tried to get access to your data.
Bonus: How to protect yourself from spyware
- Don’t forget to update your system regularly.
- Avoid suspicious websites.
- Download software only from trustworthy websites.
- Don’t open emails from unknown senders.
- Mouse-over links before clicking on them then make sure you get redirected to the right webpage.
- Install a reliable anti-virus program, scan your system regularly, and don’t ignore anti-virus notifications.
Have you ever found any of the listed signs on your computer? How often do you scan your system with anti-virus software? Let’s discuss in the comment section!