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