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Signs of a bot infection

Updated 4/22/2016 1:14:59 PM by Comcast Expert


Bots can be used to run automated tasks over the Internet, often for fraudulent purposes. Help protect yourself by learning the warning signs as well as the steps to prevent or remove an infection.

A bot is a type of malicious software that is used to gain control over a computer, usually without the owner of the computer knowing. Once a bot has control, that computer can be used to send spam, host phishing sites or infect other computers. 

If you suspect your computer is infected, check for these signs:

  • Numerous notifications of "undelivered email" sent to unknown email addresses
    If a bot sends spam to an unknown email address, it will generate a "failure to deliver" notification.

  • Email addresses in your account that you did not create
    Bots can create multiple email addresses in email accounts.

  • Multiple toolbars on your Internet browser
    Bots will frequently install various toolbars to help collect search information from browsers. (Additionally, installation of untrusted third party toolbars can lead to a bot infection).

  • Unusual error messages
    Be aware of error messages on your computer that say applications can't run or drives can't be accessed.

Preventing spam

If you do see these signs of a bot infection or suspect your computer is infected, you can take the following steps to eliminate the threat:

  • Keep your security software up to date and install a firewall.
    Unprotected Internet connections are vulnerable to viruses. Some viruses are programmed to open gateways (also known as proxies) to relay spam. Without current anti-virus software or a firewall, you could unwittingly be a courier for spam.

  • Regularly check for viruses.
    To help protect your security and privacy, it is important to regularly check your computer for any possible viruses and remove them.

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