Symptoms of Malware

Episode ID S1E09
September 23, 2020

In this episode of Fraud Wise, we’re talking about some warning signs that malware has been installed on your computer to compromise your data and account information—and more.


Hello, this is CoBank’s Fraud Wise, helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.   

We’ve talked before about the dangers of malware, or malicious software, which can compromise your data and account information, enable perpetrators to hold your data or systems hostage for ransom or outright steal your money, and enable identity theft.

One of the challenges with malware is that it’s designed to run without your knowledge.  Here are some warning signs that malware has been installed behind the scenes.

First, your computer may start acting oddly.  It could suddenly be very slow in starting up or completing tasks – even if you’re not connected to the internet.  Programs may appear or disappear unexpectedly.  When you investigate, you may find unexplained network or hard drive activity.

When you’re online, your browser may stop working properly, or at all.  You may see a sudden increase in error messages, ads and pop-up windows.  You may also see signs of emails or social media messages sent without your knowledge – possibly brought to your attention by friends or colleagues responding to them.

And, of course, in one of the most frustrating situations, your computer screen may display the dreaded frozen screen, often called the blue screen of death, making it impossible for you to investigate what’s happened or do any work at all.

When you or one of your employees experience any of these symptoms, immediately disconnect from the internet, notify your IT team for resolution, and if you’ve suffered financial harm from the fraud, notify the authorities.  If the problem is on your personal computer, run a comprehensive virus scan to find and destroy the malware, and consider taking the device to a computer professional to make sure the problem has been completely resolved.

This has been CoBank Fraud Wise, helping you protect against fraud.