Even with technology security growing at a record pace, computer viruses seem to always be a step ahead. All computers, even Macs, seem to be affected by today's sophisticated viruses. Sometimes your computer can run slow or lag, but does that mean you have a virus? Read on to find out how to identify the symptoms of a virus on your system.
5 Ways to Spot a Computer Virus
Computer viruses can act just like the ones we humans get infected with — they love to spread. Here are some of the tell-tale signs you can look out for that can help you spot a computer virus without a second thought and solve virus issues like a pro.
1) Your computer is running extremely slow and seems to be on system overload
We’ve all become accustomed to fast results and instant gratification from online work and tasks we do. When you need to be productive, nothing is more frustrating than a slow computer. (Check out this related post to learn how internet speed and productivity go hand in hand.)
However, when your computer is extremely slow, even when you're not running any heavy programs or tasks, that should raise some red flags. Also, a crashing computer is a sign it is probably infected, especially if it keeps crashing when you run a certain program. If these things are happening, you need protection. Download an antivirus and fire wall to solve virus issues.
2) Pop-up ads are showing up every time you turn on and use your computer
Pop-up ads are always a bad sign. When the internet was still new, pop-ups plagued everyone. These days, browsers have pop-up blockers that stop pop-ups in their tracks. When pop-ups are appearing and getting out of control, it’s a sign that your browser is configured improperly. When the pop-ups are happening without a browser open, that’s when you have a virus.
Your best bet is to run a scan with anti-spyware software. A good one to use is SpyBot Search & Destroy. Whatever you do, don’t click or download the pop-ups. It will only make things worse.
3) Your contacts are receiving messages from you that you didn't send
When your computer is sending out messages to your contacts without your knowledge, that’s a big sign of infection. The virus is trying to spread itself as far as it can and will use any means necessary. Not even your Facebook account is safe. If your contacts are replying to e-mails you didn’t send or you see Facebook posts that you didn’t post, it’s a good idea to change all of your passwords for all your accounts.
Then, you should attack the virus with security software, which should help to protect your system and solve virus issues.
4) You get locked out of your computer
One of the most nerve-racking viruses to get is known as ransomware. The effect of this type of virus is that it locks you out of access to your computer. It can pop-up as a message from law enforcement declaring that you have illegal files. In some cases, it will demand that you pay a sum of money and your computer will be unlocked. Don’t be fooled. To take care of this, you will need a rescue CD. Give AVG Rescue CD a try. Also beware of encryption. Ransomware will often encrypt your files, so without a recent backup, you files could be gone.
5) You're getting unexpected messages or programs are starting automatically
Sometimes, you click the wrong link that can start downloading a virus to your computer before you even have time to close the window. The next time you start your computer, programs you’ve never seen before begin popping up. This is a definite sign of infection. Run a scan and clean out your computer right away. Be sure to uninstall any programs the virus installed.
Stay Ahead of Computer Virus Issues
Getting infected with a computer virus can happen to anyone, but try not to be a victim. Make sure to install virus scanning software and a current firewall. Don’t click on anything that looks "spammy" or tells you that you won something — you didn’t.
Above all, always, always back up your computer. That way, when a virus comes up, you have all your files protected and you can solve virus issues with no problem. If you're interested in learning about cloud backup and recovery options, check out our helpful e-book, "Cloud, Smog or Fog," available below.
Image credit: virus