Probably the best known types of Malware that can attack your system are computer viruses. Almost everyone has regularly updated anti-virus software on their computers these days, but did you know that there are viruses that this software will not catch? Anti-virus software relies on regularly updated “virus definitions” to detect a virus on your computer. This means that there are lots of people out there in various organizations that look for new virus types on a constant basis, and if they find one, they write a definition of it and include it on the list. If a virus has never been seen or detected before, and no definitions have been produced and added to the list, then your anti-virus software is pretty much useless. So how else can you detect a virus? What happens with your computer system? How does it act? Well, there is no universal play book on this, but what follows are some activities you might notice happening that are pretty good indicators that you have a virus operating on your computer!
1. Your system may show signs of sudden and unusual sluggishness, especially at start up
2. You may see a significant, unexplained decrease in the amount of memory or disc space you have available
3. Your workstation or even servers may show deteriorating responsiveness – sluggish and slow running
4. You may experience sudden anti-virus software alarm activity without resolution
5. Macro viruses can cause your saved documents to open as .dot files
6. Workstations may experience “churning”, which is unexplained and sustained workstation activity levels
7. You may experience unscheduled hardware resets or hardware crashes including program aborts
8. You may receive disc error messages and increased “lost cluster” results when performing disc scans
9. You may experience excessive and unexplained network activity
10. You may experience unexplained freezing of software applications or receive unexpected error messages
11. There may be excessive consumption of active resources on the CPU
12. Software applications (or their icons) may suddenly disappear from your screen or the application may not execute when you click on it
Now I’m sure that all of us have experienced some of these things happening on our computers before. Who hasn’t noticed their computers running sluggishly or had an error message pop up unexpectedly? And most of the time, these are not caused by virus activity. Even so, ignoring such symptoms can be dangerous! There really could be a virus running that is causing these problems. So check these symptoms out or report them to your IT section, especially if you are experiencing several of the indicators listed above. When dealing with information security, safer is always better!