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Ideally you have one or more types of properly updated anti-malware software running on your computers and networks. And hopefully that software detects and prevents any malware infections from occurring. However, because anti-malware software may not detect an infection, watch for the symptoms that can indicate a computer is infected with malware. These include:

  • It takes longer than usual for your computer to start up, it restarts on its own or doesn’t start up at all;
  • It takes a long time for one or more programs to launch;
  • Your computer and/or programs frequently lock up or crash;
  • Programs are starting and running by themselves;
  • Your hard drive runs continuously, even when you aren’t working on the computer;
  • Your files or data have disappeared;
  • You find files with new or unfamiliar filenames;
  • Space on your hard drive(s) is disappearing;
  • The homepage on your web browser has changed;
  • Your browser starts launching multiple tabs;
  • Web pages are slow to load;
  • There is a lot of network or web traffic, even when you are not browsing the web or using the computer; and/or
  • Parts, or all, of your computer screen look distorted.

If one or more of the above things are happening, make sure your security software is up to date and run it to check for an infection. If the first scan finds nothing, try running a scan with a second product. If the odd behaviours continue or there are other problems, seek technical help.

For more info on the cybercrime dangers law firms face, and the steps that you can take to avoid them, please see the Cybercrime and law firms issue of LAWPRO Magazine.