In case you have a feeling something is wrong with your computer, but you simply can’t put your finger on it, then there’s good chances your machine has been infected with hidden malware. Granted, you probably ran several scans that reported everything is in the green. However, you should know that due to the thousands of malware released daily, even a highly reliable and updated antivirus program can’t spot ALL malicious programs out there.

Take note that as soon as a malware is detected, virus makers are already in the process of developing new malicious software. As you can see, in this cat and mouse game, the problem resides in the fact that there’s a window of opportunity when new malware is released and the antivirus developers release a new patch. This is essentially why so many computers get infected. If you have reasons to suspect your PC has been infected with hidden malware, here are the signs to watch for.

Even the simplest of tasks take forever to process

In the event that a simple task such as opening a new window takes up to a few minutes, this could constitute a clue of a hidden malware infection. While the malicious program is carefully hidden in your machine, it still sucks up your CPU cycles and other resources. To confirm your suspicion, you will have to open the process monitor and learn more about unknown tasks by searching about them on Google.

The browser seems to have a mind of its own

Perhaps the biggest hint of a hidden malware infection is when your browser is taking you everywhere else but the website or page you want to visit. The main culprits for abnormal browser activity consist of rootkit malware, which automatically install redirection software making them harder to detect and remove. Bizarre as it may sound, hackers use rootkits to earn money through advertisement and malware affiliate marketing programs.

The antivirus is unresponsive

One of the first thing modern malicious programs are designed to do is disable the antivirus. Therefore, remember to check your protection program from time to time and determine if it’s still active and receiving updates.

The hard drive appears to be working overtime

Seeing your hard drive clicking when you’re not doing anything on the computer is not a major concern in most cases. In fact, this could be a scheduled system maintenance task or an automatic defragmentation. On the other hand, if it occurs frequently, it could be a sign that your system has been hijacked and it is currently being used as a part of the botnet.

The activity lights on the router brighten although nobody is using the internet

Some malware are programmed to use your machine as a botnet slave used to carry out large scale denial-of-service attacks. In such situations, your only clues consist of a diminished performance impact and router activity that suggests traffic although you’re not using the internet. On a side note, the activity lights can also mean that some of the programs are updating themselves; remember to confirm this before proceeding.

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