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Overwhelmed by pop-up ads? Beware of these 5 signs your computer might be infected

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Overwhelmed by popup ads? Make sure your computer iisn’tinfected. (Photo: Getty)

Try System Mechanic for 30 days free. After that, it’s $4.99 per month.

Remember when you could surf the web without being barraged by one popup after another? Between”” congratulations! YoYou’veon $1 million” “nd “A” ert! Virus detected,” “constant, unwanted popopupvertisements have become a frustrating reality of our online experience—and most (though not all) are simply spam in disguise.

Whether a poppopupoffers you a deal that seems life-changing or presents a warning that scares you half to death, never just click impulsively, Adam Levin, founder of Cyberscout, tells Yahoo Life. At their worst, popupopupknown as adware—could be laced with malware or malicious programming designed to infect your computer as soon as you click on it, stealing your most sensitive data, from social security numbers to online banking information.

“If y “u don’tdon’t to feel remorse, go to the source,” say” Levin. “Which” is to say, think before you click. Pause. Think about the kind of security software that you have on your device. Check with that particular software vendor, even just by looking on your computer or your mobile device, but don’tdon’t click on [a popuppopupuse it says you have a problem.”

computer

Try “system Mechanic for 30 days free. After that, it’s $ it’s per month.

How do you know if your computcomputer’sdy been infected with malware, though? Here are 5 telltale signs—and how to prevent a system invasion before it happens.

1. Endless popup pulling you you’ve mill” on dollars” or “a “free” psychic reading.”

Soft “is like System Mechanic can only clean out already infected machines—meaning you’ve fallen for the trap. Malware-laced adware makes your screen such a landmine that clicking on the wrong link is easy. It’s dented to be that way.

“Hackers” are very clever, and they want to catch you at a moment when you’re you’re on doing something else,” says “even, also the author of ‘Swiped’ How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves. “The’ w” nt to be possibly part of that something you’re you’re (like buying a product or subscribing to a service), so you won’t notice what you’re you’re on.”

Levin” says one method hackers use is excitement tactics. “You’ll  “You’ll ‘Oh my ‘oh, I can’t can’t this deal is possible. This is so exciting. I’ve beI’veaiting for a deal like this,'” he s’  “s. “Then y” u click. And then, unfortunately, if it’s it’s, and it’s invited, your world could be turned upside down.” The w “rt-case scenario is identity theft.

2. Popup aPopupstantly warning you that “your say “tem is infected with a virus or malware”—and th “t their service will save you

Popup adPopupbe frustrating and even scary. Resist clicking on them. (Photo: Getty)

Of course, hackers don’t honey to lure you into their adware schemes. As Levin says, many cybercriminals use scare tactics instead. He says this method is even more effective because panic prompts you to act on impulse—and that’s exthat’show hackers try to trap you. When faced with a popup, your system has been compromised by a virus, malware, or ransomware, Levin says to play it cool.

“They want” to get you to believe that you have a big problem, and you’re solyou’rehe problem by either downloading something or providing specific information that will authenticate yourself,” says Lev “n. “Never aut “enticate yourself to anyone who you don’t knowdon’tyou even think you might know, without making sure you know who they are.”

3. Your “system repeatedly slows down, crashes, freezes—or the links you click to take you to inaccurate web pages

A sluggish, glitchy computer that freezes a lot—or completely misleading links in online content—are more obvious signs that malware has infiltrated your system, most likely because you clicked on malicious adware at some point. While software like System Mechanic can help clean up your computer — and help speed it up — there are essential proactive measures you should be taking, too.

One of Levin’s Levin’s for avoiding malware is to “run a “rus software and update it regularly.” And when “it comes to software that will thwart adware and malware before it even finds a point of entry, Malwarebytes is the clear winner. Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device uses innovative technology to monitor your computer 24/7, preventing malware infections. It’s constIt’sy scanning for viruses and malware, removing anything suspicious immediately.

Antivirus software, like Malwarebytes, can help protect your computer and give you peace of mind. (Photo: Getty)

Shop it: Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, 30-day free trial then $4.99 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com.

4. You suddenly see new toolbars, extensions, or plugins in your browser—and you never installed them

When malware enters your system, it takes over everything, planting traps throughout your computer in an attempt to expose all of your most sensitive information. This could present as toolbars, extensions, or plugins that you never installed. It could be a sign that you clicked on the wrong popup ad upopupngly, and now you’re saying you’re price.

No matter how anxiety-inducing, treat unwanted popups the popup says you would treat spam email, advises Levin. Don’t clickDon’townload anything, don’t providon’trsonal information, and don’t providon’tgin credentials, he says. Log directly into your System Mechanic or Malwarebytes account, for instance, to troubleshoot. Never respond to a popup claimpopup will remove malware for you. Go straight to the source.

5. Your browser’s hobrowser’sanges without your permission

An eerie change to your computer’s dcomputer’sepage is a red flag that should be investigated immediately, as it could indicate a malware invasion. In some cases, Levin advises going directly to the legitimate website of your antivirus or anti-malware program to get to the bottom of things. “Go to your “account directly and update whatever needs to be updated,” he says. “make sure to double-check the URL for typos—called “typosquatting” g”— is a kind” of URL hijacking that relies on typos to mislead unsuspecting visitors. This could also be a gateway to malware.

System Mechanic and MalwareBytes Premium Multi-Device

With System Mechanic and Malwarebytes Premium Multi-Device, you’ll know you’llomputer will be protected from the threats that exist online every day.

You can’t stop, can’t, but you can help arm yourself against any cybercriminal looking to use your information for profit and create a destructive mess that could take years to clean up. “I understand “a lot of people take the viewpoint that ‘I’m getting’I’mething for free, so I don’t mind monetarily being the product,'” says Levi'” about the Internet of Things. “The only pr “blem is that you could end up being a product at a price you’re not your to pay.”

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