My device is acting suspiciously

Malware attacks have evolved and become highly sophisticated over the years. These attacks pose multiple different threats and can have serious implications to your personal and organisational infrastructure and data.

Malware attacks come in different forms, such as viruses, phishing, ransomware, trojans and rootkits. Some of the threats are: computers crashing, data theft (i.e.: sensitive account credentials, financial info, bank account logins), an attacker blackmailing you to pay a ransom by taking control of your device, or taking control of your device and using it to launch DDoS attacks.

Some methods commonly used by attackers to compromise you and your devices seem like regular activities, such as:

  • An email or a post on social media that will tempt you to open an attachment or click on a link.

  • Pushing people to download and install software from an untrusted source.

  • Pushing someone to enter their username and password into a website that is made to look legitimate, but is not.

This section of the Digital First Aid Kit will walk you through some basic steps to figure out if your device is likely infected or not.

If you think that your computer or mobile device has started acting suspiciously, you should first think of what the symptoms are.

Symptoms that commonly can be read as suspicious device activity, but often are not sufficient reason to worry include:

  • Clicking noises during phone calls
  • Unexpected battery drain
  • Overheating while the device is not in use
  • A device operating slowly

These symptoms are often misconceived as reliable indicators of worrisome device activity. However any of them taken on its own is not sufficient reason for concern.

Reliable symptoms of a compromised device usually are:

  • The device restarts frequently on its own
  • Applications crash, especially after input action
  • Operating system updates and/or security patches fail repeatedly
  • Webcam activity indicator light is on while webcam is not in use
  • Repeated "Blue Screens of Death" or kernel panics
  • Flashing windows
  • Antivirus warnings