Detecting a virus on your computer is not a difficult or complicated task if you know what a computer virus is and how it works. There are many signs and symptoms that show if a device has been compromised. Certain simple but important practices can keep us safe from a computer virus and all the trouble that follows it.
A computer virus is a type of malicious software program that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. Computer viruses are not the same as other kinds of malware such as Trojan horses, worms, ransomware, and spyware. Though different, they are all bad for our computers. They all cause undue damage and irritation, slow down our computers, cause data corruption and loss and must be kept in check. They can spread through email servers and infect all our contacts. So, being careful is not only important for us, it is important for everyone around us.
Signs of a Computer Virus
If you have a good anti-virus software installed on your computer and it is up-to-date, it will notify you in case a virus has infected your computer. It will also suggest measures against the attack and how to clean your computer. A few clicks should restore your PC to its original state. But sometimes anti-virus definitions are not up-to-date and some software may not cover every virus out there and you may still be infected. Following are some ways of knowing if your computer has been infected without your knowledge.
Your Computer is Slower than Usual
A clean computer without any heavy software should be running pretty smoothly, without getting stuck or any other hiccups. The response of the computer should also be quick. Even in case of heavy software being used on the computer, if the processor is fast, the computer should run quickly and smoothly.
If you notice that your computer is operating with hiccups every now and then, getting stuck often and the response to your clicking or doing something is slower than usual, that is a cause for concern. There is a chance your computer is infected with a virus. Virus software uses up the computer’s processing power and causes it to run slower than usual.
Computer Programs are Crashing
Every computer has some files that keep the computer running properly and ensures all programs run smoothly. If you run an application or a program or open a file and your computer crashes, or the program shuts down itself, it is an indication that some sort of malware is at play.
Some kinds of malware mess up a computer’s important files that ensure its smooth running. If you notice any such thing happening, you must run your anti-virus to detect the malware. Or try a different one if the existing one does not detect anything.
Changing File Sizes and Strange Messages
Every file on your computer has a specific file size and adding something to it or removing data will change the file size. If, however, you notice that file sizes are changing frequently and you haven’t accessed those files in a while, that is another sign that a virus resides on your computer.
Although this indicator is hard to detect. We do not tend to look at file sizes all the time! But in case you notice such an activity, make sure you do something about it because it is a sure sign of some malicious activity going on inside your computer.
Strange messages popping up on your computer when you access files and data are another indication that something might be wrong with your device. Running anti-virus software regularly and keeping it up-to-date is the only sure way to keep yourself safe, even if it isn’t fool-proof, it still provides some barrier between your device and the big bad internet world out there.
Safe Computing Practices
While working on the internet is fun and convenient and has brought everything to our fingertips, it also comes with a load of unwanted stuff you do not want lurking around on your system. Therefore, safe computing practices are of the essence if you want to have a smooth sailing experience online and want to avoid serious trouble. With the onslaught of malware came anti-virus software that is available to protect your computer from most if not all kinds of malware out there.
Safe computing also involves avoiding suspicious links online and in emails, try to download from trusted sites only and stay away from visiting suspicious sites. Keep your anti-virus software up to date and do routine scans of your computer. Nobody wants a computer that is unstable and unsafe. Although some viruses may still break through your defenses, it is always useful to take every precautionary measure you can to stay safe online. Because anti-virus software and being vigilant will keep you protected from most of the nasty stuff out there.
If your computer is being used by multiple people, try to make sure they follow the simple safety guidelines as well. In case of children, always be around to see what they are doing online and teach them from a young age not to unnecessarily click on anything and if they have to, they should consult an adult first. Early education about online safety will come in handy and save you from a lot of unsolicited trouble.
There are scams on the internet now that alert you to a virus on your computer and ask you to download a certain software to get rid of the virus but actually is a virus in disguise itself. Beware of such scams. Only trust software from a trusted source or install a well-known anti-virus software on your computer and run that from time to time to detect viruses, if any, in case you think something is off with how your computer is running. Do not follow any message about a virus attack other than your own anti-virus software. Such scams can badly affect your computer and even spy on you.
Be safe online. Only a little effort and vigilance on your part can save you from a lot of nuisance.