How to Know Your Computer is Infected with virus & How to Fix It
Is your computer behaving abnormally? Are there random popups on the screen telling your computer is infected? Maybe you are hearing sounds coming out of your PC but don’t know where it is coming from. If you are facing any of these issues, your computer might be infected with a virus.
While it is not easy to determine the kind of infection your computer is suffering from as the authors of malicious software and files do their best to hide their work. Nevertheless, you could look at certain signs to figure out whether your computer is infected or not in the first place.
How Virus Affects Your Computer
A virus will always have a negative impact on your computer. Nevertheless, the degree of negative impact depends on the type of infection. The following are some of the possible consequences of a virus infection:
Lack of performance: A virus-infected PC will process things more slowly, taking hours to execute even a simple task. If you are facing similar issues where your PC is taking too long to perform simple tasks, you should have it checked out.
Functional loss: In some cases, the computer virus can affect the core functionalities of your PC, rendering it dysfunctional to do anything. In such a case, you won’t be able to access basic features and tools on your computer.
Exposure to negative software: Some malware is designed to entice you into downloading even more dangerous software.
Information loss: Some viruses are aimed at stealing or deleting your personal information from your PC.
Privacy invasion: You can also become a victim of privacy invasion as some viruses gather your personal information for the purpose of identity theft or other frauds. It can also lead to financial losses if you are not careful.
Types of Computer Infections
Here are some of the most common threats that can affect your computer:
Viruses designed to attack your system: Such viruses spread from system to system through shared links and uploaded and downloaded files. These viruses could spread when people share and links and files carelessly and don’t have a proper antivirus in place.
Worms: Worms spread on their own and don’t need anyone’s help to proliferate. These viruses are programmed to move across computer networks on their own.
Adware, spyware, and ransomware: These are special programs that are designed to track your online activity, gather your personal data, and even steal your data and demand a ransom from you in return.
Signs Your Computer is Infected
Here are some of the signs that indicate your computer is infected, according to Tim Armstrong, senior sales engineer at SecurityScorecard:
Random pop-up windows
If you get unexpected dialogue box pop-ups or windows, it can be a sign that your computer is infected. Usually, fake virus warnings tell you that your computer is infected, and ask you to click a link or download a file. Authentic virus defenders such as Windows Defender and other antivirus programs don’t prompt you to click a link or call a random customer service number.
When your computer is infected it can respond with an audio signal to things that are out of your control. If you are regularly encountering chimes and bells from your computer, your PC might be infected with a virus.
File and folder changes
You might have unexplained missing files or the icons and content of your files might have changed. These type of random changes are made to your computer when it is infected with a virus.
If your computer is running surprisingly slow and is taking a lot of time to process basic functions, you might as well have it checked for viruses and other such infections.
Connections to unknown websites
Another sign of your computer being infected is when certain applications on your PC try to establish a connection with websites you have never heard of. Your PC never makes connections on its own unless it is initiated by something or someone. If you didn’t initiate these connections, chances are a malicious application on your PC is doing it for you.
If your computer is infected you might see random pornographic images on your screen. This is a related sign that a virus has made home inside your PC.
Inability to download antivirus
Some computer viruses are programmed to protect themselves. One of the best ways to clear your PC of viruses is to download a good antivirus program and run a thorough scan. Nevertheless, Contact Antivirus Support Provider if you are having trouble downloading or running an antivirus program on your PC, it could be due to the self-preservative virus.
Spam sent from your email address or social media
One of the ways some modern malware are spreading is by sending random messages to your contacts on your phone or social media. This type of malware proliferates across the internet by prompting people to click on malicious links. Once clicked, the link spreads the malware to the person’s computer, which later spreads to their friend list unbeknownst to them.
You can avoid such attacks by logging out of all your accounts, creating new and strong passwords, and implementing extra security measures such as two-factor authentication.
Sudden lack of storage space on PC
If you have suddenly run out of storage space on your computer, it could mean that you are infected with self-replicating viruses that can multiply themselves in large numbers. In most cases, the files that the virus inserts into your hard drive are disguised under default file-browsing settings.
Suggested Read: How to install McAfee Antivirus Software
How to Deal with a Virus-infected PC
Just as you would take care of your car and your house, you will need to take care of your computer, if you are to stay safe from viruses and other computer infections. Here are some of the best ways you can keep your computer safe and viruses at bay:
Keep your PC updated
Viruses can infect your computer through security lapses in the existing software. In order to avoid your computer from falling victim to a virus, make sure you keep all your applications and antivirus software updated. This also applies to your operating system. Regardless of which platform you are on, make sure you catch up with the latest updates offered by the parent company.
Have only one antivirus solution
While installing multiple antivirus software on your computer might seem the right thing to do, it is actually counterintuitive. When you have multiple antivirus software on your PC, they might cancel each other out and leave you vulnerable to viruses and malware. Not to mention, having more than one antivirus software slows down the performance of the computer.
Automate virus scans
Most modern antivirus software come with an automated scan feature that allows you to scan your computer on a timely and regular basis. You can choose the timings according to yourself. For instance, when you usually complete your task or assignment on your PC, you can schedule your antivirus to make a thorough scan.
Restart in safe mode
Restarting your computer in safe mode gives you a clear insight as to what the issue might be. You might also be able to get rid of the infection easily in safe mode compared to normal mode.
Understand the infection
There are a number of computer viruses out there that cause a range of issues. If you can identify which infection your computer is suffering from, you would be able to make an effective move. For instance, if you are suffering from crimeware attacks, the best thing to do is to disconnect your PC from the internet, according to Norton.