Detecting an intrusion

How can you tell if your system has been compromised?  Often, there is little, if any, indications to the user.  In extreme cases, messages may show on the screen, or a computer may not boot at all.

Most times, however, this is not the case, and the user does not see anything different on their computer.  However, quite often, a slowdown will be noticed.  This can be in several forms:  Taking longer to boot than it used to, slower response times within programs, or slower response over the Internet.

The most common complaint that I receive, that leads to finding an otherwise undetected infected, or compromised system, is "my Internet connection is slow".  This is common if the computer has been infected, and is sending SPAM email messages.  All of those e-mails, are competing with your legitimate Internet requests for the bandwidth that you have.  You can only send and receive so much information over the line you have to the Internet.  The more spam your computer is trying to send, the less room there is for the web page that you are trying to view to get through.

In such a case, you may also notice that your programs are running slower, or taking longer to load, than they used to.  Again, there is only so much computer power to do everything.  The more SPAM that your computer is trying to send, the less time it can devote to your tasks.

So, if you notice that you are running slower than you used to, you need check your system for some type of possible intrusion.  Since there are so many different possible attacks these days, having this done by professionals is highly advisable.  CCS  has the expertise, and tools, to do this for you.

Even if you do not notice any performance changes, it does not mean that you are home free.  Your system could be compromised, but the "bad" software may not be putting much load on it.  It may be capturing and sending out small pieces of information from time to time.  Since the information sent is small, and the malicious software is in a dormant state (hiding and waiting for you to type that password), there is little performance impact.  That is why it is a good idea to periodically have your system checked out, even if you do not have a reason to suspect that it has been compromised.  In the case of viruses, spyware, and malware, being a little paranoid can go a long way in keeping your system clean.

Contact us for help with this potentially serious problem.

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