5 Minute HelpDesk – What are the Signs Your Computer has a Virus?

5 Minute HelpDesk – What are the Signs Your Computer has a Virus?

Does my computer have a virus? This is the first question that pops-up when your computer starts acting strange. Since computer viruses are diverse, they can affect devices and operating systems in different ways. However, the signs they leave tend to be similar across the board. Our cybersecurity experts in Perth have listed the most common signs your computer shows when it has a virus and how to protect your devices from viruses.

Signs Your Computer has a Virus

Slow Computer Performance

Is your computer taking longer than usual to start up or open programs? This is one of the most common signs your computer has a virus. There are many other factors that can cause your computer to run slow, but viruses are the most concerning.

Draining Battery

A virus can cause a battery to drain quickly. Once the virus enters your computer, they multiply continuously and utilise resources, thereby draining your battery.

Random Crashes

A virus can cause your computer to crash and make your screen freeze frequently.

Frequent Pop-ups

Beware of frequent and odd pop-up windows that urge you to visit other websites and download antivirus or other software programs which will be hidden viruses. Malicious spam and pop-ups can also install spyware that could hack your browser or steal your passwords and other confidential information without your notice.

Access Denied from Your Own Computer

Viruses can lock you out of your own computer, making you unable to access your settings and files. In some cases, you can’t even log in or out of your account.

Mass Emailing

Once viruses infiltrate, they can access your email and social media accounts. They use your accounts to send a mass number of emails and posts. You can even get denied access to these accounts.

Disabled security software

Viruses can also disable your antivirus program or security software without your notice.

Random Changes in Homepage

Viruses can create changes to your homepage, which can be unable to reset. They can also create error messages, browser errors, and shortcut files.

Unknown Programs Running on Your Computer

Viruses can cause a wide range of problems. It can add icons and toolbars and run malicious programs when you start your computer or turn it off.

How to Protect Your Computer from Virus

Keep Security System Updated

Use antivirus protection and antispyware software and keep them updated. Also, ensure your operating system and browser’s security settings are updated. Regularly back up files to the cloud or an external hard drive in case your computer gets compromised.

If possible, set your security software, web browser and operating system to update automatically for patches. This way, your operating system will always be updated and ready to detect and remove the latest viruses.

Set Strong and Unique Passwords

Generate a strong, unique and secure password for each of your accounts. Make them strong by including upper and lowercase letters along with numbers and symbols. A password manager can create, store, and manage multiple passwords.

Don’t click questionable links or pop-ups

Avoid clicking on questionable links or pop-ups. Be careful while clicking on unsecured websites. All unsecured websites are not dangerous, but it’s best to avoid entering your information in those sites.

Also, don’t open an email or attachment from an unknown sender. Email phishing is an ever-present threat, so it’s advisable always to double-check the email address to see if you recognise it.

Use a Pop-up Blocker

If random pop-ups appear on your screen, never click on them. Use pop-up blocker to block unwanted ads.

Download from Sites you Trust

Beware of hidden malware in free software. Always download software and other files (music, movie etc.) from reputed services or websites.

Avoid using Public Wi-Fi

Using public Wi-Fi in cafes, restaurants, or stores is common. But most people don’t realise that these are unsecured networks and can leave their devices vulnerable to viruses. Use a personal hotspot. If you must use a public Wi-Fi, use a VPN for better protection.

Educate Yourself about Different Cyberthreats

Learn about the types of threats and share your information with others. By taking the time to talk with your family about safe online habits, you can drastically lower the risk of devices being compromised.

These are the common signs your computer has a virus. Follow preventive measures to make it difficult for cyberthieves to infiltrate your computer. Need help with protecting your devices and data from viruses and other cyber threats? Contact us or email at helpdesk@computingaustralia.group. Computing Australia has more than 20 years of experience in providing robust security solutions for its clients. We are 24/7 ready to assist you with your cybersecurity.

Computing Australia is a member of The Computing Australia Group of Companies.

Jargon Buster

Pop-ups or Pop-up ads – forms of online advertisement that are graphical user interface display areas that suddenly appear in the visual interface.

Virus – a malicious program which infiltrates onto a user’s computer and replicates itself by modifying other computer programs, inserting its own code, and later performing malicious actions.