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Given the recent spate of cyber-attacks, it should come across as a surprise to no one that malware attacks have seen a healthy spike in the recent past. Recent data indicates that in 2020, 61% of organizations experienced malware activity that spread from one employee’s system to another. In 2021, that number rose to 74%, its highest since the SOES survey began in 2016. Google’s Transparency Report does a fair job of giving us an idea of how pervasive the problem is. According to the report, 2.195 million websites made Google’s list of “Sites Deemed Dangerous by Safe Browsing” category, as of January 17, 2021. The vast majority of those (over 2.1 million) were phishing sites. 27,000 of Google’s removed sites were delisted because of malware. Additionally, the 2021 State of Email Security Report by Mimecast found that 61% of organizations experienced a ransomware attack that led to at least a partial disruption of business operations. This is an increase of nearly 10% from the previous year’s estimates of these types of malware attacks.

Now the general course of action that you can think of as a user when you suspect a virus has entered your computer is to immediately launch a virus scan through the antivirus program installed (hopefully) in your system. Unfortunately, though, while most modern antivirus programs are singularly effective at both identifying and quarantining viruses – some malware continue to slip past them. In this article, we will be talking about the warning signs that you should look out for if there is undetected malware lying hidden in your system. Please refer to IT Support Houston to know what you can do about Malware Removal.

What is a Virus?

If you aren’t familiar with the mechanism of antivirus programs, it may surprise you to know that the definition of a virus and what constitutes one is continuously evolving. The most correct definition of a virus, at least, according to the antivirus program, is only the definition that the program has received in the latest update. It is only through the virtues of this definition that the program is able to decide between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in its continual search for malware. Programmers tend to change this definition according to the latest discoveries and findings in the virus world. The definitions basically serve as a snapshot for the antivirus program to recognize the virus and take necessary defensive measures. You could even say that the effectiveness of an antivirus program is really dependent on the extent and effectiveness of its virus definition library and how it can capitalize on this database of information.

Signs You Have Malware

Ads start popping up unexpectedly in your system

Adware is the traditional conception of malware infecting a system. The moment a user’s computer starts to get bombarded with pop ups of ads s/he never asked for – it’s a sign that something has gone very wrong with the system. Some of these ads could be legitimate where the hacker gets an affiliate fee whenever a user clicks on the ad. But most often, these ads turn out to contain malicious links to websites that could potentially target the user’s system with even more malware or to sites containing pornographic or NSFW (not safe for work) material. Managed IT Services Houston can you help keep your computer safe from adware.

Continuous Browser Redirects

This one is a dead giveaway. Not all site redirects are malicious, but if you find yourself continuously redirected to an unfamiliar page or search engine – chances are that you have malware. Sometimes, these redirects are much subtler with the user getting redirected to a spoofed website that looks exactly like a site they trust and regularly use. Banking Trojans are a prime example of this. In this case, you always need to double check the URL in the address bar. If it looks unfamiliar, or contains spelling mistakes, it’s a spoofed website. This kinds of attacks often rely on using browser extensions. In case of a problem, it’s a good idea to double check all browser settings to disable or delete any unfamiliar extensions.

Scary warnings turn notifications or pop-ups

Fake antivirus programs or scareware are a common tool of carrying out miscellaneous malicious activities. These are generally installed on the user’s system through drive-by downloads or other such techniques. Once the fake antivirus is installed, it continually and unexpectedly keeps sending the user pop ups or notifications about urgent problems and critical issues including malware on their system. The fake antivirus would even pretend to scan your system and deliver results designed to push the user to pay to access more advanced features, such as quarantining the threat.

How to Stay Safe from Undetectable Viruses

There are a bunch of cyber security best practices you can follow to stay safe from attacks. Most of these really are common sense measures that you should be using anyway. Some of these include always taking care to ensure that you are downloading files from verified and legitimate sources. Never click on links or attachments unless you’re sure of its provenance. This even includes tantalizing video links from your friends on websites you’re not familiar with. For all you know, their accounts could have been hacked and used to distribute malicious links. However, despite the best measures taken, human beings are prone to errors and inattention. A single team member slipping up and clicking on a malicious link could end up compromising your entire infrastructure. Therefore, for maximum security and peace of mind, it is best to engage security expertise from professional managed service providers. Always remember that antivirus programs are only pieces of software that are ultimately limited in their scope of protection. Managed service providers use a variety of security tools and techniques along with a good antivirus to ensure that your systems stay protected at all times. For superior local managed services and Malware Protection in your area, please contact IT Services Houston.

Scott Young

Scott Young, is the president of PennComp LLC, an IT Support Houston company. Being a CPA, Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, Change Management Certified and Myers Briggs Qualified, Scott’s expertise is reflected in PennComp as a leading IT company for computer services and network integration. PennComp utilizes Six Sigma methodologies and practices in their service delivery and offers state-of-the-art monitoring and management tools to their clients.