Spyware. Yuck. The very sound of the word puts a bad taste in our mouths. But unfortunately, it’s not going away anytime soon.
Knowing more about the ways in which spyware attaches itself to your computer can help you avoid getting infected in the first place, but even the best security practices can’t prevent every attack. So, identifying the symptoms of a spyware-infected computer is just as important. The sooner you can spot the issue, the sooner you can get help and stop the spread of or damage caused by the infection.
The following symptoms may indicate that the system you’re using has been corrupted by spyware:
- An endless amount of pop up ads begin to plague your monitor when browsing the web
- Your browser continues to redirect you to pages other than those to which you’ve navigated
- New toolbars appear in your web browser (often installing themselves as a browser plug-in)
- New and/or unidentifiable icons appear in the task tray at the bottom of your screen
- Your browser’s home page has changed without you having done so
- When using the search bar in your browser, you are redirected to a different search engine
- Certain keys fail to work in your browser (like the tab key will not advance within a form)
- Random error messages begin to appear when performing previously unaffected operations
- Your computer seems very slow when opening programs or saving files
If you notice any of these symptoms and are a Ripple client, be sure to contact us right away with the details of when it started and what’s been happening. If you’re managing your own IT, well, we suggest you get some kind of anti-spyware application. For Windows machines, we like the powerful and trusted Spybot – Search & Destroy, which is free for home users and fairly inexpensive for businesses. Macs are generally less likely to become infected, but that’s changing as more and more people add iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks to their tech arsenal. If you’re concerned about the security of your Apple products, make sure you have the most up-to-date OS and patches installed. And if you’re still concerned about what could affect your Mac, then check out MacScan which boasts a free 30-day trial.