Viruses and Malware: Watch for the Signs

When you hear the words “computer virus,” do you picture something like this?


Unfortunately, malware isn’t always so easy to spot. Hackers like to hide their programs so they can continuously steal your data without being discovered. And it’s not just computers that can be infected – phones and other devices that connect to a network (even things like smart thermostats!) can all fall victim.

Don’t let them. Get to know these common signs of malware.

Signs of Malware

  1. Pop-Up Ads: This might be the easiest way to tell if your device is infected. If you have lots of pop-up ads that won’t go away, don’t click. They might be trying to get you to download even more malware, or they might link to scam offers.
  2. Strange Messages from “You”: Some malware can take control of your messaging apps, email, or social media. If your friends are receiving messages or links that you didn’t send, change your passwords right away (click here for tips) and look for any strange downloads or software on your device. Speaking of which…
  3. Unexpected Apps or Downloads: Malware can make an infected device download things without telling you. If you notice things on your device that you didn’t download or authorize, investigate them to find out what they are, and don’t open them until you’re sure they’re not invasive.
  4. Unexplained Charges: Watch your bank account! If you notice charges you didn’t make, they could be the result of malware that’s stolen your payment information.
  5. Device Overheating: Malware in the background can overwork your device, causing it to get hot even when it seems like it’s not in use. In extreme cases, this can be a fire hazard – unplug your device and shut it down if it’s getting out of hand.
  6. Slowness or Glitching: This can be a little harder to pinpoint, but if your device isn’t running like it usually does, it’s worth looking for potential malware. Devices run worse as they age, but a sudden drop in performance isn’t normal.

Yes, Your Apple Device is Vulnerable to Malware

Somewhere along the line, you’ve probably been told that Apple devices can’t get viruses or malware. This is a myth.

While it’s true that lots of malware targets systems like Windows and Android, Apple users aren’t immune. If you ignore the warning signs, you’re playing with fire no matter what device you use.

What If I Get a Virus?

It’s not the end of the world – but it is something you should take care of as soon as possible.

If you suspect your device is infected, try to find someone who can remove it. Search Google for computer repair services near you, ask tech-savvy friends or family members, or see if your local COA has any resources. You should also change all your passwords and watch your accounts for suspicious activity.

ProtectIQ Can Help

If you have MEC Wi-Fi, the free CommandIQ app, and a GigaSpire U6, U6x, U6xw, or U12 router, the devices connected to your network are protected against hackers, viruses, malware, and other digital threats.  Once you set up CommandIQ, your network is automatically protected, including smart home devices that don’t have access to other virus protection software.

Please note: ProtectIQ works for your in-home network. Any devices that leave the house will need virus protection for when you leave.

Not sure which router you have? Click here. If you don’t have any of our GigaSpires, we’ll give you a free upgrade.

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