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Signs your computer might have a virus: ways to prevent and deal with it

July 20, 2022 No Comments

Featured article by Caroline Jones

Internet security

Malware and viruses have been active for decades now. The first computer malware unleashed is about a half-century old. Viruses and malware force computers to act unusually, affecting their performance and our stored data.

It’s not always easy to tell whether a computer is acting strangely due to a virus attack or it’s just time to give it some regular refresh. Viruses are excellent at disguising their activity for a long time before launching the rocket and dropping their payloads.

Have you noticed that your computer is doing strange things and acting weird lately? Well, a computer virus is like the flu. It can tire your device, spread through the system, and turn simple everyday tasks into difficult chores for your computer to perform.

Luckily, there are ways to check if your computer has viruses. Here’s how to do it, deal with the problem, and prevent it from happening.

How do viruses infect our computers?

A computer can get a virus in several different ways. Most viruses come with unintentional downloading. That means you must be careful with what you’re visiting online and where you click. Many files, links, and online ads carry malware, especially on sites that sell various products or allow pirate downloading.

You can also intentionally click on something you’re unaware is infected, like spam or phishing email, photos, or any other infected link.

There’s also a high possibility you’ll pick up a virus and introduce it to your system by connecting infected external drives.

Make sure you’re not connecting your USB to suspicious devices and computers. If you can’t avoid that, plug your USB into a buffing device and scan the USB for viruses plugging it into your computer.

You can also disable autorun features and prevent automatic USB launching, which allows you to scan it before use.

How to spot if your computer has a virus

We’ve already mentioned that viruses make your computer act strangely and abnormally. Here are some of the issues that show your computer has probably caught a virus:

– The computer is running slower than usual. It takes a lot of time to open or power up apps you’re regularly using (the computer can work slower due to process-intensive operations, but not if you’re trying to do simple tasks like opening your Google browser).

– You’re missing files, and the programs you often use suddenly show error messages or other pop-up windows. That means some malware is likely corrupting your data.

– You’ve noticed unfamiliar apps or processes when checking the task manager.

– Your computer crashes often, and you’re starting to see the blue screen of death.

– Your email account sends and receives many spam emails without permission.

– Your browser is frequently redirecting you to random pages.

– You’re hearing weird noises from the hard drive.

– Viruses tend to spread, and you might notice your disk space is suddenly full of system files that weren’t there.

– You can’t download updates, antivirus programs, or firewalls.

Ways to prevent viruses from attacking your computer

Even though there are many advanced and intelligent viruses, there are ways to protect your device and save all your valuable files and data. Here are some simple tips on preventing viruses from attacking your device:

– If you’re in public and need to use a public Wi-Fi connection, ensure you have a quality VPN for Windows devices to protect your laptops from being susceptible to various viruses. A VPN encrypts data and hides your IP address, supplying more security on home or unknown networks.

– Use a backup cloud to prevent file and data loss if a virus compromises or corrupts your computer.

– Don’t ever click on questionable links while you’re surfing the internet. The pop-ups you see on multiple sites are usually malware that can endanger your computer’s safety.

– Think twice before leaving your personal information to anyone on the internet.

– Don’t open suspicious attachments and emails. Even if you know the sender, double-check to see if something smells fishy. Hackers use a friendly tone and sometimes even a friend’s name to trick you. If you see a suspicious email from someone you don’t know, it’s better to delete it.

– Be careful while downloading. Download movies, music, and programs only from legitimate and reliable services or websites.

– Research online threats and viruses to know how to deal with the problem when you find yourself in such a situation.

– Regularly update programs against malware or spyware threats.

Conclusion

Regardless of the type, a virus can cause significant damage to your computer. Education is probably the best way to prevent and deal with malware and viruses.

Remember the tips we’ve listed above. The primary key to prevention is knowing the basics of protecting your online presence and your computer from possible threats and viruses.

About the Author

Caroline Jones is an enthusiastic writer, gamer, and foodie, interested in helping people and becoming a veteran in all things technical. Cybersecurity is her passion, and the fight for digital privacy is one of her favorite subjects to dig deeper on a regular basis.

DATA and ANALYTICS , DATA PRIVACY, DATA SECURITY

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