Possible effects of malicious code
There are several signs your device might be infected by malicious code. Here are some of them:
- Slower operating speeds — Your device might take longer to turn on, turn off or load specific browsers, programs or files.
- Reduced storage space — Your device might show less available storage space, because malicious code is using a good chunk of what’s available.
- Frequent crashing or freezing — Your device might frequently freeze or unexpectedly close the program you are using.
- Unwanted or unfamiliar programs — Your device might unexpectedly load programs you didn’t click on. In other cases, you might see programs loading that you’re not familiar with.
- Pop-up messages or ads — Your device might display random pop-up ads, particularly when you’re using a specific browser or internet-based program.
- Disabled security solutions — You might notice your security settings or programs are automatically disabled when you turn on your device.
- Strange desktop icons — You might notice unfamiliar desktop icons for programs you did not download.
These are only some of the signs that malware might be affecting your device’s performance. The exact effects of malware will vary depending on the type of malicious code that has infected your phone, tablet or computer.
Common examples of malicious code
Different types of malware affect devices in different ways with different consequences. While one form might take your files hostage, another might try to find and publicize your payment information.
Identifying different types of malicious code is the first step toward eliminating the code from your device. The faster you diagnose malicious code, the faster you can keep it from affecting your files or the integrity of your device.
Computer viruses are often triggered by a user action and will spread from one computer to the next, infecting devices and files along the way. Viruses will negatively impact a user’s files or a network router’s hard drive. This usually happens when a virus modifies a device’s existing code and inserts its own code.
Computer viruses can be difficult to fully eliminate since they jump from one program to the next once they infiltrate a device. Your device can become infected by a computer virus after you unknowingly visit a malicious website, open a spam email or download a free software program or game. Once fully active, a computer virus can slow down your device and permanently damage your hard drive — while trying to steal your information.
Trojan horses first appear as harmless or legitimate computer programs. After a user downloads the program, the Trojan horse releases a payload, or a set of malicious code, that carries out actions for hackers, which can then expose your programs to malicious intent. In many cases, a Trojan horse will explore your files, deleting data while looking for specific information. However, Trojan malware can be designed to do other things as well.
While sifting through your files, a Trojan horse can seriously slow down your computer’s processor. This makes it more difficult to use your device for even simple tasks, like checking email or browsing the internet. In some cases, a Trojan horse can also develop into ransomware — malicious software that blocks access to your device and data until the user pays a ransom.