Detect Malware

This article provides tips and best practices for detecting and avoiding malware. Following all the general electronic security guidelines, especially running a virus scanner to protect your computer and your information, can be the best defense against malware.

Between scans, you can help protect yourself if you keep an eye on your computer for changes in behavior, like:

  • Sluggish processing speed for no apparent reason
  • Not responding to your commands to shutdown or restart
  • Intrusive ads appearing in places where you didn’t see them before
  • Sending you to websites you weren’t trying to visit
  • Sending emails without your consent
  • Your browser homepage changes without your consent
  • Device battery suddenly, and repeatedly, drains unusually fast
  • Unexpected new icons or toolbars appear on your desktop or in your browser


Expert tip: To identify malware, run a trusted antivirus program immediately. If you don’t currently have one, two options are Avast Free Antivirus or Malwarebytes.

If you have any suspicion your device might be infected with malware, immediately stopping all online activities that involve usernames, passwords, or other sensitive information can prevent further harm. This includes banking and shopping activities, accessing private work files, etc.

Want to learn more about identifying a malware attack? Click here to read the Federal Trade Commission’s detailed advice.

Discovered you’ve fallen victim to a scammer’s malware attack? Continue reading in Get Rid of Malware.

For an overview of online safety and security best practices, please visit our Security Center. Or check out our complete online security series by clicking the links below:

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