Responding to a Malware Attack
In spite of all your careful steps to protect your computer, it could happen. Your computer somehow contracted a virus and it's not behaving according to expectations: it's sluggish, you can't open certain applications, or pop-up messages with warnings or ads are appearing randomly.
Another way your system may have been compromised is if your user account was accessed without your permission. Somehow someone gained access, either remotely or physically, to your system.
Was There Sensitive Data?
The most important thing is to find out if the computer's data was accessed and whether that data contained anything that could put an individual at risk for identity theft:
- If the computer only contained your own personal information and not of any other individuals, take steps to ensure your financial and personal information is protected.
- If there was sensitive data on the system that could put other individuals at risk, (e.g., spreadsheets with ID numbers, financial account information, etc) then see the steps regarding data breaches.