How to treat computer infected by virus
Computer viruses are software programs designed to replicate/duplicate/repeat itself and also spread to other computers. In general usage, the term “computer virus” includes all forms of malicious software (malware). Its purpose in most cases is to cause the computer to malfunction either through replicating itself until it fills up all available space on your hard drive, turning your computer into a brick. Others corrupt data on your computer or make it unstable. A few will even attempt to use your e-mail programs to distribute the malicious code to everyone in your contacts list. And there’s always the possibility a cracker (malicious hacker) will use malware to get remote access to your computer. This article look to explain what is Computer Virus and how to treat if infected.
No one wants to own/use a computer infected with virus, which is why it’s very important to practice safe computing habits and to install reliable anti-virus software. You can avoid most malware just by paying attention and staying away from a few common traps. If your anti-virus software is up to date, you should be in pretty good shape.
Sometime, computer viruses can get beyond our defenses if our anti-virus software is out of date or has been compromised by a particularly clever bit of code. May be we clicked on a link by accident and activated a virus, or someone else used our computer and downloaded some malware by mistake.
If your anti-virus software is robust and up to date, you’ll likely receive a message as the application scans your computer. That makes detecting the virus easy. But what if your software is out of date or the virus has managed to deactivate the anti-virus program? There are several signs that could indicate the presence of malware on your computer.
Signs your computer is infected by virus
- Your computer becomes unstable: that’s a sign that something’s wrong. Some malware might be compromising important files that keep your computer running properly. That could cause your computer to crash. If your computer crashes when you try to run a specific application or open a particular file, that tells you that something has corrupted the data. It could be a malware.
- Your system becomes slow: Does your computer seem to run much more slowly than it used to? This could be the result of malware as the malicious code begins to drain your computer’s processing resources. If you are not running a resource-heavy application but your computer is very slow, you might have a computer virus.
- Strange messages indicating that you can’t access certain drives on your computer: These are another sign that something is wrong. In a similar vein, applications that won’t run or files that won’t open may also be the result of infection. Other indicators include hardware (like printers) that no longer respond to commands. While none of these guarantee the presence of a virus, they do suggest that something is wrong with your computer.
- File sizes are fluctuating: even if you are not accessing those files, that is another sign of a computer virus.
- Odd or Distorted appearance: if you access menus/folders and their appearance is odd or distorted, you could be the victim of a malware attack.
It’s important to remember that computer viruses are one potential cause of problems like the ones listed above, but that they are not the only cause.
Protecting your Computer from Virus
- Install an antivirus program. Installing an antivirus program and keeping it up to date can help defend your computer against viruses. Antivirus programs scan for viruses trying to get into your email, operating system, or files. New viruses appear daily, so set your antivirus software to install updates automatically.
- Don’t open email attachments unless you’re expecting them. Many viruses are attached to email messages and will spread as soon as you open the email attachment. It’s best not to open any attachment unless it’s something you’re expecting.
- Keep your computer updated. Always check releases of security updates that can help protect your computer.
- Use a firewall. Windows Firewall (or any other firewall) can help alert you to suspicious activity if a virus or worm attempts to connect to your computer. It can also block viruses, worms, and hackers from attempting to download potentially harmful programs to your computer.
- Use your browser’s privacy settings. Being aware of how websites might use your private information is important to help prevent fraud and identity theft.
- Use a pop-up blocker with your browser. Pop-up windows are small browser windows that appear on top of the website you’re viewing. Although most are created by advertisers, they can also contain malicious or unsafe code. A pop-up blocker can prevent some or all of these windows from appearing.
- Turn on User Account Control (UAC). When changes are going to be made to your computer that require administrator-level permission, UAC notifies you and gives you the opportunity to approve the change. UAC can help keep viruses from making unwanted changes.
Removing a Computer Virus if infected
If you think your computer have been infected, try the following Steps, in this order.
STEP 1: Check to ensure that other factors aren’t causing your problem. Oftentimes a slow computer will give the impression that it is infected with a virus, when it may be an issue with memory, storage, adware, or a number of other factors. Failing hardware, especially hard drives, can significantly slow down your computer and corrupt files. If you are certain its virus, move to the next stage.
STEP 2: Accept that your anti-virus program has failed. Don’t be too hard on it; you just had the misfortune to get the malware before the update that would have protected you from it. But until everything else is fixed, your current software probably isn’t working.
STEP 3: Restore the system. Select Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, System Restore. Follow the prompts to restore from a time before you starting having the problem. If you don’t have a restore point that old, go on to step 2. If System Restore fails to work, move on to the next step 4
STEP 4: Backup your data. Before starting the virus removal process, make sure that all of your important data is backed up. This will ensure that nothing of value is lost if the computer has to be completely reformatted, and you can get back up and running with minimal time invested.
STEP 5: Gather your tools. You should already have an antivirus program installed, but if you don’t there are a variety of both free and commercial products available. Most paid programs have a trial period that will allow you to scan and remove viruses, so don’t worry about cost and download the program that sounds the best to you. Popular options include Kaspersky, BitDefender, Antivir, and Trend Micro. You should only have one of these installed at a time.
- You will also need a few anti-malware programs. While lots of adware is technically legitimate, lots are not. These programs may pick up things that your antivirus passes over. Popular options include Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, Spybot S&D, and Adwcleaner. You can, and should, have multiple anti-malware programs installed at the same time.
- If your virus infection is preventing you from successfully downloading files, you will need to download them on another computer and transfer them via USB drive.
STEP 6: Reboot in Safe Mode. In order for a virus to do anything, it needs to be run. Most viruses run themselves by attaching to startup services that load when Windows loads. Safe Mode only loads the most essential files for Windows to run, which should stop almost all viruses from activating. This will allow you to identify and remove them
STEP 7: Run your scans. Run a full system scan with your antivirus program. Quarantine anything that doesn’t look right after the scan is complete (most antivirus programs have a quarantine function). After you are finished running the virus scan, run each of your additional anti-malware scans. Each program is capable of removing any infections it is able to find.
STEP 8: Test your computer. After the scans have all completed, reboot normally and test your computer’s performance. Run your web browser and any other programs that you originally had issues with. If your infection is gone, you’re done! If problems persist, Go here