how to recognise and help protect against malware

How To Recognise And Help Protect Against Malware
cyber criminals

According to the latest Characteristics of Australian Business report, a significant percentage of Australian businesses are falling victim to cybercriminals, with more than one in five suffering from some form of cyber-attack.

With the ongoing growth in technology, the sophistication of cyber-criminals, and the importance of recent security data breaches hitting the headlines, businesses are placing a greater focus on protecting their assets and data.

Cybercriminals constantly evolve their tactics, which creates a constant threat to businesses of all sizes. That’s why it pays to cover all your bases when it comes to IT security, including installing robust virus protection, as well as malware-specific software.

Malware infections pose a significant risk to your computer systems and devices, as they compromise security and could result in data breaches. Recognising the signs of a malware infection is important, so you can take proper action and safeguard your devices and data.

How to Recognise a Malware Infection



If your device is running slower than usual, it may indicate a malware infection. However, before jumping to conclusions, consider other factors, such as resource-draining programs running in the background, as well as older and failing hardware. If the performance issue persists, contact us here at PC Pitstop for an assessment.


Malware can cause your internet connection to slow down significantly, as it may exploit your Wi-Fi connection to transmit your data to hackers. But before you assume a malware infection, first rule out internet bandwidth issues caused by
other devices on your network.


If you receive warnings about reaching your data cap sooner than usual, investigate your recent app installations. Some background apps, as well as malware, can consume data without you being aware. If you notice an abnormal increase in data consumption, this could be a sign of malware.


Persistent pop-ups appearing even when you’re offline can indicate malware. These aggressive tactics often prompt users to make payments to remove the malware. Under no circumstances should you provide payment information in response to pop-ups like this. Contact us here at PC Pitstop for an assessment. We’re only a phone call away.


Frequent device crashes can be attributed to system issues or the presence of a virus. Review your recent downloads, as a malware-infected file or app might be the cause.


If your friends or business colleagues complain about receiving spam or altered emails from you, your email account has likely been compromised. Malware can infiltrate your email and use it for phishing scams or to distribute malicious links, can change bank account payment details on invoices for businesses or send infected file attachments.


Be vigilant for any new icons that appear on your desktop or unfamiliar apps that have been installed on your device. Never install speed boost or driver update software. Contact PC Pitstop for a computer tune up. Malware can often be bundled with
seemingly legitimate software. Also, check your browser‘s toolbar for any unexpected changes or new extensions.


Certain malware infections can block your access to system administration tools, which prevents you from acting against them. If you’re unable to access security tools, it could be a sign of a malware infection.


Malware may disable or remove your security programs to allow them to propagate further and do more damage. Make sure your security measures are always enabled and functioning properly


Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your files and demands payment for their release. If you find your files or folders are inaccessible and you receive a ransom message, this is a strong indication of a ransomware attack. Always backup your files on an external hard drive, as well as the cloud. Keep multiple copies of the files you cannot lose.


Pay attention to the URL of websites you’re visiting, as some malware can mimic familiar websites to deceive you into entering sensitive information. An example would be a Microsoft office or bank login. Verify that the URL matches the official address of the website you want to visit to avoid falling victim to phishing attempts. If in doubt, close the window and enter in the official address yourself

What to do when Infected by Malware


Once you‘ve confirmed the presence of malware on your device/s, it‘s critical to isolate and remove it as soon as possible.

What to do when Infected by Malware

Here are suggested steps to take:



  • Delete suspicious apps: If the malware originates from a recently installed app, uninstall it immediately.
  • Disconnect from the internet: By cutting off all connections, like data, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, you can help minimise the
    malware‘s impact.
  • Run an antivirus scan: Use your antivirus or malware software to perform a thorough system scan. This may detect and quarantine the malicious code if the scanner is up to the task.



  • Contact your bank: If you suspect the attacker has obtained your financial credentials, notify your bank immediately. Some banks have systems in place to monitor potentially compromised accounts.
  • Change passwords: If you suspect the attacker has obtained any of your passwords, change them immediately. Use unique and robust passwords for every account to prevent further unauthorised access. Use a password manager to store all these hard to remember passwords. Don’t store your passwords in your browser. We recommend, use and supply “Keeper Password Manager”.
    Keeper can also sync across all your devices, so you have one true source of password data.
  • Alert friends, family, and colleagues: Certain malware lets attackers impersonate you and exploit your contacts. To prevent financial harm, inform your friends, family, and work contacts about the potential breach, even if this may be embarrassing. They will genuinely appreciate the heads up.



  • Use a trusted local IT company: Employ a reputable IT support service like PC Pitstop to resolve the issue and get
    you back on the road. Talk to us. We are here to help.
  • For home and micro business users – install threat protection tools: Consider deploying virus protection software like Webroot in conjunction with anti-malwarespecific software like Malwarebytes for Microsoft Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, Android, and iOS to find and remove malware. These two programs together work like a security guard for your computer
  • For small to medium businesses, we recommend a fully managed product like SeninelOne which uses advanced technology to detect and stop threats before they can harm your files or steal your information. In remediation, It also helps you recover your data if something goes wrong.
  • Educate yourself: Stay informed about common types of malware and refer to this article to learn how to recognise and avoid them. Knowledge is key to preventing future infections
  • Strengthen your passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for each account. If you find managing multiple passwords becomes challenging, consider using a trusted password manager we described above like “Keeper”.
  • Regularly install updates: Keep your device and software up to date. Software vendors regularly release updates to quickly fix vulnerabilities they have found that malware may exploit. Installing updates promptly will help make sure you benefit from critical security fixes. If you need help, contact a reputable IT support company like PC Pitstop.


How PC Pitstop can help protect your business from Cyberattacks


Remain vigilant and take prompt action if you spot the signs of malware – this will help protect your data and prevent further damage. If you suspect a malware infection, get professional help as soon as possible, or use reputable anti-malware software to remove the threat and safeguard your system and devices.
Don’t take a chance and expose your business to unwanted risks. Safeguard your business from a cyber-attack today.

Visit our store, call us on 1300 841 551, or send us a message.

Written by Ben Waters

Ben WatersOver 25 years helping build small businesses that work. Investor/Adventurer. Electronic Engineer and tech enthusiast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    • Unit 2, 10 Bellbowrie Street,
      Port Macquarie, NSW, 2444.
    • 02 65 841 551
    • Located Opp. Super Cheap Auto, The Car Wash Near Settlement City and Black Market Bagels, In Bellbowrie Street off Hastings River Drive
  • Newsletters

    WE'RE OPEN & CONSIDERED AN ESSENTIAL BUSINESS Christmas Trading Hours + Merry Christmas Plan For Productivity & Win Your Week You Asked, We Listened! How to Make Google Your BFF
  • PC Pitstop Trained Technicians Ben Waters and Steve Harris
  • Stocked & Supported by Experienced Technicians

    We’re not just a warehouse, we’re a busy workshop too, servicing thousands of home and business users across the Mid North Coast for over 25 years.

    So you can engage our services, shop our online brands and products with confidence knowing experienced techs have got your back, stand behind the stock, and are here to help!