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Our complete guide to computer viruses

One of the most common questions we get asked is, ‘how to remove a computer virus?’.

While it might seem like all is lost when you realise you have a computer virus, there are some things you can do to remove computer viruses yourself without the help from an expert. The most important step is to take action as soon as possible to remove the computer virus from all devices and prevent it from infecting other systems. 

Keep reading as we share all our knowledge on computer viruses to help you remove the virus and minimise damage to your systems.

What is a computer virus?

A virus is a piece of code or a program that attaches to the files or programs on your devices and wreaks havoc as it corrupts them. 

How does a computer virus spread?

Not satisfied with creating havoc on your devices, the virus is programmed to keep seeking new systems to infect, much like a real-world virus. 

A computer virus can spread in many ways:

  • app downloads 
  • audio files
  • email attachments
  • internet downloads
  • links to a website
  • online greeting cards
  • opening emails from unknown sources
  • opening websites that aren’t secure
  • sharable images
  • social media links
  • text message attachments
  • video files

How to tell if your computer has a virus

These are a few common signs of a computer virus on your device:

  • Browser faults: The browser starts using a different search function or may take you to a completely different home page than the one you typed in.
  • Emails: Mass emails purporting to be from your account are sent out to your contacts. Often a contact will report a suspicious email they received.
  • Mystery programs: A program you haven’t installed may randomly appear on your computer.
  • Passwords altered: When you get an email to let you know you changed a password, and you know you didn’t knowingly do it.
  • Random pop-ups: When pop-ups appear randomly on your screen, it’s a sure sign that a virus controls what is happening on your computer. 
  • Shutdowns: Your computer shuts itself down without any apparent reason.
  • Slow speed: Your computer will tend to slow down, and this will worsen over time. Often you will hear the computer fan turn on and off as it tries to process commands.

Types of computer virus

You’ll hear words like ‘worms’ and ‘ransomware’ bandied around, so here are a few of the many types of viruses out there. Malware is not strictly a virus but will have the goal of tricking you into supplying sensitive information to steal credit card information, steal identity or mine cryptocurrencies. 

  • Browser hijacking: You may think you made an error after typing in a website name when suddenly, you get taken to completely different sites. You’re not going crazy – it’s the virus.
  • Ransomware: If you are the target of a ransomware attack, your files will be encrypted. You won’t be able to gain access unless you pay for them to be restored. 
  • Resident: Like someone taking up residence, this virus sits in the computer’s memory and will make unauthorised changes and perform actions beyond your control.
  • Trojans: Like the Greek Trojan horse carried into Troy, the virus can sit in a system just waiting for the opportune moment to release its lethal cargo and infect networks.
  • Web-scripting virus: When you open an infected webpage, your system will be infected by the virus lurking there.
  • Worms: These are different from the usual virus and work underground, infecting systems and spreading without a person doing anything. 


How to avoid computer viruses

Install the best anti-virus software from a well-known brand, or better still, get your IT remote support to install anti-virus software.

No matter how attractive a pop-up is, do not click on it unless you’re fully confident in the source.

Check the sender of an email before opening an attachment. If it’s from someone you don’t know or hardly ever communicate with, delete it.

Don’t click on links or open files from people you don’t know on social media.

If you are using a file-sharing program, the sender will have given you a call or a mail to say what they’re sending and you should know what to expect. Don’t open files from unknown sources.

How to remove a computer virus

If you suspect you have a virus, call in the IT experts. The best method is prevention, so talk to your IT specialist and ensure you have security to prevent the damage that viruses can cause. It will save you downtime, potential loss of files, and security breaches.

Do Mac computers get viruses? 

Yes, they can. Although Macs have inbuilt protection systems that make them less likely to succumb to attack, it is still possible – especially malware attacks. A VPN (virtual private network) will act as a secret tunnel between your computer and the internet, protecting you from malware. Ensure your IT specialist has you covered with good anti-virus software for Macs and has put the protocols for online privacy and protection in place. 

If you need protection from viruses, please call Buzz-A-Geek now. Not only do we check systems are clean, but we install the latest anti-virus software and monitor the system for any suspicious activity. We aim to keep your systems running perfectly so you can work without interruptions.

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