The odds are that you use a computer or your smartphone every day. Whether it is for shopping, email communication, hanging out on social media, or working from home, your computer is the gateway to a larger, interconnected world. Unfortunately, there are several hazards and ways to pick up viruses or malware along the way.
A Virus is essentially code that can self duplicate and propagate itself across your entire machine. It will infect programs and cause issues/we can make with your computer’s operations.
Malware is any program designed to harm a computer and compromise data. It can infect your computer via email attachments, phishing scams, downloads from disreputable sites, and through drive-by downloads.
A Sluggish Computer
Getting a virus requires an unwitting user to open an infected email, download an attachment, or take some kind of action to infect a system. Unfortunately it happens sometimes through no fault of your own. One sure sign your computer or phone might be infected with a virus is a significant slowdown. There’s nothing worse when you’re trying to work than dealing with a slow or nonfunctional program (especially when you’re trying to work or watch a video)! While there certainly are non-virus related reasons — such as Windows running programs or updates in the background — a slow computer usually indicates an infection and you should run an antivirus program and take appropriate security actions immediately.
Missing Or Rearranged Files
Have you ever walked into your home after a long day of work only to find your furniture has been rearranged and some of it might even be missing? That’s exactly what a virus or piece of malware might do to your files/data. Viruses have a tendency to move around or rearrange files on your hard drive, change file extensions, and surreptitiously delete or block access to certain files. They may also change the icons. If you notice this happening on your computer or device, you can try searching for them to rule out a virus and restore them from backups whenever possible.
Difficulty Shutting Down Or Restarting
Another symptom of a computer virus infection is difficulty shutting down, starting up, or restarting your computer. A virus can overload resources or take control of important macros that govern the machine’s standard operations (like starting up and shutting down). Installing antivirus software helps prevent issues like this and eliminates viruses efficiently. In addition to that, it speeds up your computer, guards against fraud, and enables safer browsing so you won’t have to worry about various web threats infecting your system while you’re online. On top of preventing viruses, a good security suite can keep users safe from spyware, malware, ransomware, denial of service attacks, and other issues with a simple interface and robust support system. It’s shockingly easy to set one up and has a minimal cost associated with it, making it one of the best, most accessible options for staying safe online.
Your Computer Crashes Often
If your computer crashes more times than Launchpad McQuack during a single DuckTales episode every time you try to use it, then it’s pretty likely you have a computer virus. Viruses corrupt files, folders, and essential programs. Opening a folder or program under these conditions can cause the system to crash, erasing your work and occasionally causing irreparable damage. Once files become corrupted, all sorts of things can go wrong. If this starts happening, perform a virus scan and look for any other signs of malware infection before it’s too late.
Pop-up ads are the bane of any internet user’s existence. From persistent ads to unwelcome random windows popping up unexpectedly, these are one of the major annoyances we’ve all had to deal with on occasion. Many browsers mercifully allow users to block the dreaded ads, but sometimes a virus or malware can tamper with those settings and allow or send pop-ups through. Clicking on a link in the pop-up will likely lead to a dangerous site or download a malicious payload. Other pop-ups prompt users to either enter personal information or redirect to a legitimate-looking form where they can capture and steal sensitive data. In some cases, the presence of pop-ups doesn’t indicate a virus because some sites still use them for legitimate purposes, but you still want to be careful and block them whenever you can.