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How to Tell if Your Computer Has a Virus

This article will show you how to tell if your computer has a virus, and what to do if it does. We’ll also show you how to stay safe while surfing the Net and sending e-mail.

How to Protect Your Computer From Viruses and Malware

One thing everyone is worried about is having their computers attacked by viruses and malware.

A computer virus affects the performance of your PC and slows it down. It can also damage your files and programs, access your personal information, or access your data.

It is important for you to know how you can navigate the internet without downloading malware in the process. So, without further ado, let us get onto this quick guide that will let you see whether or not your computer has a virus.

Signs that your computer is infected with a virus

The computer is slowing down

One of the tell-tale signs of your computer being infected with a virus is a slowdown of your computer’s performance. When a virus or malware attacks your computer, it takes a very long time for you to load your files and apps. It also takes pretty long for your computer to start up and run smoothly. If this is the case with your system, it is most probably being affected by a virus that is attacking your system’s operating system.

Not all slowdowns are related to a virus, it is a sign your hard drive might be failing.

Additional Reading: Signs Your Computer Hard Drive is Failing, and if You Need a Replacement (And What to Do). 

Additional Reading: Why is my computer slow?

When your computer has a virus or malware, along with slowing down of the system, there is yet another issue. This is that of your computer’s battery draining quickly. These viruses make use of your computer’s resources. This, in turn, increases the activity on your computer. These actions by multiplying viruses can result in your computer’s battery draining quickly.

Another sign of your computer being affected by the virus is your computer crashing frequently and randomly. When your system is compromised by a virus, you will suddenly see your screen freezing up, or you will get the ‘blue screen of death’ out of nowhere.

You may be able to prevent viruses or malware from slowing down your computer by using antivirus or antispyware software. You also need to ensure that the software is updated regularly. Another thing you need to make sure of is that your computer’s operating system is also updated and you are using the current security settings of your browser. You should also take a backup of all your files to prevent losing them in case of a virus attack.

Perhaps it’s not a virus? Before we jump that, here are some DIY steps you can take to speed up your computer.

Annoying ads are displayed

A virus affects your computer’s system and compromises its performance. A virus does not come with a bang – sometimes it just wants to collect data, and sell that data about you.

Viruses can be downloaded into your PC without you knowing of them. If you are browsing the internet, you may see annoying ads popping up on the screen.

Do not click on these ads, as they could actually be a virus ready to be downloaded into your system.

These viruses can also multiply or download other malicious software on your computer. These viruses and malware can spy on all your online activities and steal your sensitive data and passwords. They can also manipulate your activities online. It is very common for you to use WiFi available in public spaces like cafes and restaurants. However, this common activity can leave your phone, laptop, or tablet exposed to hackers and viruses.

Instead of connecting to public WiFi, you can make use of a personal hotspot to use the internet. If you have no other option but to use public WiFi, you can use VPN to make sure that your device is protected. We’ll write another article soon on how to set-up a VPN.

Some ads are completely harmless, and are intended as ‘revenue generating.’ They’re not taking your money, they’re taking advertisers money by having you click on ads that otherwise you would have not been shown in the normal advertising world.

There is an image down below that best represents these. I even had this one once before, and it took me a while to realize, “hey, these aren’t normal Google ads.”

Chromium Malware Sample

Fake Google Ads Malware

Too many pop-ups and spam

Another red flag that you need to notice is sudden pop-up windows.

These pop-ups may ask you to visit other websites and download certain antivirus programs. However, beware of such scams. You will end up downloading malware instead.

Apart from instigating you to download antivirus software, these malicious pop-ups could also secretly install spyware. In such a case, your personal information could get exposed to hackers.

The spyware can hijack your system and steal all your passwords and sensitive information without you knowing about it. This could result in a compromise of your email accounts and social media.

You have probably received an odd-looking email from your friend and doubted that their account was hacked by somebody. Similarly, something similar could happen to you.

Here are some instances:

  • You may notice some emails in your Outbox that you never sent out
  • There may be social media posts you never made
  • You cannot log into your accounts.

You may be able to prevent a virus attack by staying away from clicking on random links or pop-up messages. You should also think twice before entering any of your personal or sensitive information on a website that looks suspicious.

To prevent such mishaps from happening, you can make use of a pop-up blocker. This blocker blocks any type of unwanted and harmful apps from popping up on your screen. Taking this step may prevent your computer.

Another good habit that you can follow is to not open any email or attachment unless it is from a trusted source. In order to make you install a virus, hackers can use a friend’s name as the sender. They may also use “Re:” on the subject line to trick you into believing that they are replying to you. Always double-check the details and the email address before you open it. If you are not sure about the source, it is always safer to delete the email.

Your browser homepage changed

Do you often see your homepage switching itself to another website? Do you find yourself unable to switch it back or reset it? If this is the issue you are facing, your system is infected by a virus. Some viruses, when they enter your system, can cause changes to your homepage. They can also show you error messages, browser errors, and shortcut files.

While they change your homepage, viruses can also add icons and toolbars that were not touched by you; however, this is only on the surface. A virus does much more than just add icons. If you see that unknown programs are suddenly loading when you turn on your PC, just turn it off. Do not open it. When this happens, you need to realize that a virus has infected your system.

When a virus hits your computer, it can also block your access. This means that you will not be able to access your system’s settings and files. It is also possible that the virus prevents you from logging on or off. If this happens to you, it is quite probable that your computer has a virus.

It is a good idea to always create a very strong password that is a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. Each of your accounts should have a different password so that your security is not compromised. You can make use of a password manager to keep track of and manage your passwords.

You have a virus scanner installed that you did not install

You should never download from any website that you do not trust. Also, do not get lured by free software. This could actually be malicious software in disguise, and it could seriously harm your computer.

Oftentimes, malware and viruses may also seem to be invisible as they are disguised in the form of a virus scanner. However, if you see such a virus scanner that you do not remember downloading, it is quite possible that it is a virus in hiding.

Uninstall the app and do not open it.

There may also be an instance when your antivirus software or any other security software that you have installed in your computer stops working. And if you were not the one to disable it, it just goes on to mean that the security of your computer has been compromised by malicious software.

Make sure that you are only downloading any kind of content from trusted and secured websites. You may also look for reviews before you move forward.

Conclusion

If you are not careful, it can be very easy for cybercriminals to hack into your system and create havoc. It is important for you to keep noticing the different activities happening on your computer. You also need to use trusted antivirus software and keep it updated for the best protection. Viruses are everywhere, and it is up to you to protect your computer from being infiltrated by them. Follow all these steps mentioned above to check whether your PC has been compromised and take the necessary precautions and actions.

However, there is a very quick, easy, and perfect solution if these intimidate you and you believe your system to have been compromised by viruses and malware. In such cases, you can always reach out to Gophermods for the best and most foolproof solutions and computer services.