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How to know if your computer has viruses?

Computers infected with viruses or malware pose a risk to your privacy and security. How to find out if there are viruses on your computer? The OS.ECO experts will tell you.

What computer viruses can actually do

A computer virus works just like any other virus. First of all, it’s very contagious. Once you are sick, you feel broken, you need more rest than usual, and you find it difficult to perform even the simplest of tasks. Similarly, a computer virus affects the performance of your device by spreading through its operating system. A virus can corrupt programs, delete files, reformat or wipe your hard drive, resulting in poor performance or even a complete system crash. At the same time, hackers can use viruses to access your personal information in order to steal or delete your data.

What are the different types of computer viruses?

A virus is a small program designed to cause problems by gaining access to your device. It can copy your personal data or slow down your device. The virus spreads by copying itself and attaching to other files.

Computer worm. It can spread from device to device, but unlike a virus, it doesn’t need to attach to other programs. Worms are able to replicate themselves hundreds of times, so they can damage your device very quickly.

Trojan horse. Unlike viruses that attach to files, Trojan horses, disguised as useful and safe software, attach themselves to other programs. Downloading a Trojan virus can corrupt your data and affect system performance.

Spyware is software that, just after being installed on the device, steals personal information about the user, such as passwords, email addresses and other sensitive information. Some spyware may even use your webcam without your awareness.

How to know if your computer is infected?

Notice if your phone, tablet, or computer behaves unusually. Your device could be infected with malware if:

It suddenly slows down, crashes or displays repeated error messages.

Your computer doesn't switch off or reboot.

It shows a lot of pop-ups or strange advertisements.

It shows advertisements where you wouldn't normally see them.

It displays new and unexpected toolbars or icons in your browser or on your desktop.

You have new files or folders on your desktop.

You’ve run out of space on your hard disk.

It sends emails that you didn't write.

The device uses the new default search engine or displays new tabs or websites that you haven’t opened.

The battery is discharging faster than it should.

What if you don’t have these signs? Does that mean you don’t have any viruses? Unfortunately, no. Many viruses try their best to avoid detection. They may even remove other viruses to avoid being revealed by them. The longer these viruses stay on your system, the more information they can collect from your computer and the more dangerous they become. This means that, anyway, you should check your computer regularly and take care of your cybersecurity.

How to protect your computer from viruses

Although hackers are constantly creating more intelligent and sophisticated viruses, there are several ways to protect your device and data.

Use antivirus software or a comprehensive Internet security solution.

Keep the software up to date. All updates include security measures that protect our computers from the latest viruses and malware created by hackers.

Use a strong password. This is the first line of defence that protects our accounts from anyone who wants access to the data. The most common passwords that are easy to guess are “password”, 123456 and 12345678. Don't use them.

Avoid suspicious links. Links could be dangerous, especially if they are from an unknown source. A common technique, that is still in use, is sending phishing emails with links to malicious websites that can install a virus or steal our data. Be careful what we click on, it will save us from many potential dangers.

Use a secure VPN connection for public Wi-Fi.

Never insert unknown USB memory sticks or disks into the computer.

Watch what you download.

What to do if your computer is infected

If you think your computer is infected, start by running a full system scan with antivirus and anti-malware software. Check the threats and take all possible measures. If you cannot remove the virus or infected files from your software, try to restore your computer to an earlier backup before  the problem occurred.

Another strategy is to delete all temporary files on your computer. If your computer is faulty and won’t let you access files to delete, you can try booting into safe mode. 

Prevention and education are the most effective ways to prevent a virus from infecting your computer. Learn the internet safety basics and share your knowledge with family, friends, and colleagues.

If you cannot solve a problem yourself, you’re always welcome to contact the OS.ECO team for assistance.

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