Determining if your computer is infected with malware

Bryan Gibson

Last Update 3 years ago

When infected, a computer will be running noticeably slower than normal. Be aware of any sudden significant performance decreases. It is also possible that strange websites will be brought up when connecting to the internet. A common identifier of malware is when your homepage on your internet browser has been changed randomly. You may also be unable to reach websites that are normally accessible, applications may not launch, especially anti-malware applications, internet speeds may drop significantly, and other such symptoms.

You may be at risk of malware infection by opening email attachments, visiting questionable websites, or responding to phishing emails.  You can also be at risk even though your computer is already running anti-virus or anti-malware software.  If you do not keep the software up-to-date and do not regularly install Windows or macOS updates, you are also at risk of infection as most malware targets vulnerabilities that have not been patched by updating.  

One common misconception is that Mac computers do not get viruses. They are less likely to get infected, but it does happen, particularly with spyware, adware, and browser hijackers.  

Students are encouraged to install reputable anti-malware software such as Malwarebytes.  The software is free of charge (the paid version offers increased functionality including real-time scanning), and has proven to be the most effective at removing a variety of infections on both Windows and Mac computers.  You can download the free software at

If you need assistance removing malware, contact the Service Desk at (309) 677-2964, or email us at [email protected].  You can also submit a ticket online or chat with one of our student consultants!

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