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Malware – it’s a loaded word that strikes fear into both luddites and hardened techies. From spyware and unwanted adware to software that’s solely designed to make your day a little less pleasant, there’s a wide range of malware floating around the web, waiting to be downloaded by an unwitting victim.

Thankfully, as protective antivirus software has become more commonplace and ever-easier to use, it’s trickier for malware to get its hands on your computer’s innards.

Don’t become complacent, though. Keeping a keen eye out for tell-tale signs of infection and being proactive about protection is the key to ensuring your devices and data stay perfectly safe.

Here we’ll be running down some of the key symptoms of malware infection to be on the lookout for. And, if you think your digital hazmat suit has been compromised and something nasty has wormed its way in, check out our guide on the best malware removal tools to remedy your silicon affliction.

1. Sluggish performance and frequent crashes

Just like any other software, malware takes up space on your hard drive and uses RAM to function.

However, unlike most programs you’ll have installed, the developers of said malware aren’t interested in streamlining your workflow or creating lightweight applications. All they’re interested in is their end goal – which, in some cases, could be as irritatingly simple as slowing your machine to a crawl.

If your device is taking an age to open new applications despite the fact you haven’t overloaded it, it might be time to crack out a specialist tool to see if something sinister is afoot.

2. New icons, tasks, or toolbars

Noticed something on your PC that you don’t remember installing yourself? It could very well be the doing of malware.

Although less common than in days gone by (we’re looking at you, Yahoo), toolbars and other ‘helpful’ additions that crop up in your browser aren’t always the altruistic applications they purport to be. Instead, they’re likely to be recording your activity and selling your data, or injecting bloated ads into the webpages you visit.

The same goes for tasks running in the background – although these can be little more difficult to decipher. Press ctrl-alt-del and enter Task Manager, and it’s likely you’ll be unfamiliar with plenty of the active processes. However, it’s worth googling any outliers just in case – or, of course, using dedicated software to scan your entire device.

3. Adverts everywhere

Serving infected users extra ads is a quick and easy way for malware developers to generate revenue.

As such, this is as clear-cut a case as we can think of. If you’re noticing trusted websites you frequently visit being overloaded with ads – often strange, foreign, untargeted ads – it might be time to break out your malware detection tool and run a scan.

If you’re seeing ads on your desktop – it can happen – it’s an even surer sign that your device isn’t as squeaky-clean as it used to be. Take action, and stop the ads in their tracks.

4. Your browser settings have changed

Once it’s inside, malware likes to make itself comfortable and adjust its surroundings to suit its needs.

A common symptom of infection is noticing your homepage has changed – doing this is likely to benefit the creator, as the homepage’s traffic will increase ad revenue in real terms. Other settings that may change are cookie settings, your default search engine, and the addition of new extensions.

5. Disabled security software

If some cunning malware has made it past your defenses, it may take action against any security software already installed. Just like when altering your browser settings, malware may well change settings to make it easier for it to do its job.

This could include making firewall rules more lenient, or even totally deactivating all your security software like antivirus. It’s always worth checking in on your AV software to make sure it’s still functioning as you intend – and if not, make sure you take action to stop your settings being changed again.

6. Your hard drive is inexplicably filling up

Another symptom of a virulent malware infection is a hard drive full to bursting without you making any large downloads to explain it.

This is due to the fact that some malware – often adware – is concealed within the folders of seemingly harmless applications. This may be because you downloaded a free program from an unauthorized source or worse: downloaded a pirated version of an expensive app.

Beyond the copyright implications, this is yet another reason to stay savvy about where you’re sourcing your software from, and to always pay for your tools and entertainment.

7. Your internet usage is through the roof

Many forms of malware require a constant internet connection, and use it to download secondary infections.

Other forms of malware like botnets and spyware also need a constant connection to a ‘command and control server’. If you’ve been exposed to these most sinister of infections, your internet will consistently be in action thanks to the back-and-forth between your device and this server.

While excessive internet usage is unlikely to be an issue itself in the era of largely unlimited Wi-Fi plans, it’s a useful symptom to help diagnose any malware-based issues you may be suffering from.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechRadar SOURCE

When you buy a new computer, you’ll want to transfer most of your existing files from the old one. Whether you want to take all your data or only the essentials, there are quick and simple ways to transfer files from PC to PC.

Depending on what you’re working with, some methods are better than others. As a rule of thumb, using a robust physical connection (like swapping hard drives or transferring over LAN) is faster than quick-and-easy solutions (like moving files over Wi-Fi or using a USB drive).

Here’s how to transfer data from one PC to another.

1. Use an External Storage Media

Obviously, this is the way most people do it. Stick a USB flash drive into one computer and copy the data. Stick the same drive into the other computer, then paste the data. Simple. Or you could use an external hard drive if you have more data than can fit on a flash drive.

There’s a quicker way to do this, though. First, check if the computer you want to move data to has an eSATA port or an available SATA slot. If it does, disconnect the hard drive from the original computer and connect it to the new computer. Once done, it’ll appear as another drive on the target PC. You can then transfer data over SATA, which is much faster than USB.

2. Share Over LAN or Wi-Fi

For computers close to each other, there are two main ways to share files and folders. The first is to set up a local area network (LAN), so you can use one PC to browse the other’s hard drives. The second is to use software to transfer files over Wi-Fi.

Sharing a Network Drive

All the major operating systems have a built-in option to set up a home network. This lets devices on the same router (connected via Ethernet or Wi-Fi) recognize each other permanently. So when you transfer files between computers, you don’t need to set up a new connection each time—it’s always on, as long as both computers are on.

We have a simple guide showing how to share files between Windows and Mac. The process also works with Windows-to-Windows and Mac-to-Mac. If you’re on Linux, the menu system depends on your operating system. But once you’re in network settings, you’ll find it’s similar to how you set up a home network on macOS.

Sharing With Software

If both the computers are on the same Wi-Fi network, you can transfer files with some simple software. It’s an easy way to share without setting up a home network and is ideal for temporary networks. There are several apps for sharing large files instantly. The best, in our opinion, is Send Anywhere.

Send Anywhere has an app for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It even has a web app and a Chrome extension on Chrome OS. Send Anywhere just works, and it’s fantastic how little setup it needs.

You can also transfer files from one computer to phones and tablets. And the best thing about it is that it’s almost entirely free. It’s available for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Amazon Kindle.

3. Use a Transfer Cable

For computer-to-computer transfer, you need a USB bridging cable or a USB networking cable. It’s faster than using drives since the copy-and-paste process happens simultaneously between the connected systems. When using external drives, you are basically transferring between three drives—but cables reduce that to two drives.

Windows to Windows: If you’re transferring files from one Windows computer to another, plug the USB cable into both computers. Wait until both computers recognize the cable and they automatically install drivers.

Once you’ve installed the USB cable’s driver, download and install the data transfer software for both computers. Once ready, launch the transfer app on both computers, and you can now begin transferring files.

Mac to Mac: You can connect two Mac computers via the proprietary Thunderbolt cable. Once you do that, both computers should detect each other, and transferring files is as simple as dragging and dropping them between systems.

Windows/Mac/Linux to Windows/Mac/Linux: Use an Ethernet cable to build a local area network without a router. Make sure it’s a crossover Ethernet cable (i.e., the color patterns on one end don’t match the other). Set up network sharing on both computers, and you’re good to go for PC-to-PC file transfer.

4. Connect the HDD or SSD Manually

If you’re transferring from an old computer to a new one, your old PC might not be functional anymore. Or you might want to install a new hard drive to replace an old one. But how do you get your old data, then?

Unlike a PC, finding a spare SATA port on a laptop is hard. Instead, you could use other solutions, like an external enclosure or a USB docking station, to get data off your hard drive. Either way is just as easy to learn how to transfer files from laptop to laptop.

You also might want to turn the old hard drive into external storage. Investing in an external case for the old drive will let you copy all the data from it, and after that, you get to use the old drive as portable external storage.

5. Use Cloud Storage or Web Transfers

The final option is to use the internet, the best way to transfer files from PC to PC in terms of convenience. Since more and more users now use cloud storage to save their files, this is probably the easiest way to sync your files between computers.

However, this may take some time, from several minutes to several days, depending on the quality of your internet connection.

You can choose from one of the several cloud storage providers like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. Each works as well as the other to get the job done.

If speed is what you want, though, then try FilePizza. What makes it unique is that it’s a peer-to-peer app. So as one computer uploads the file, the other downloads it immediately. There is no waiting between the two. And you don’t need to subscribe to the same cloud drive. It’s all in the browser.

What’s Your Preferred File Transfer Method?

If you ever wonder, “How do I transfer files from one computer to another?” any one of these methods will allow you to quickly transfer files from PC to PC. Remember, when moving a lot of data, you’re better off with a wired connection between computers. But if it’s just a few gigabytes of data, then feel free to use one of the wireless options instead.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from makeuseof.com SOURCE