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Five Subtle Yet Devastating Warning Signs of a Computer Virus

published 1/6/2022

COVID is not the only virus lurking out there. The average computer attack that results in a data breach costs $4.24 million.

Computer viruses are becoming more common, amongst residential and commercial users. Yet the signs of a computer virus are not well-known.

What are some clear signs that you are dealing with a virus? What signs are unique to certain kinds of viruses? How can you understand how to get rid of computer viruses?

Answer these questions and you can prevent a virus from devastating your computer. Here are five signs you should look for.

1. Slow Processing Speed

Many types of computer viruses cause a slow processing speed. Resident viruses hide in a computer's memory, damaging the device's processing capacity. But browser and multipartite viruses act in similar ways.

As you use your computer, you may notice that it is going very slowly. Website pages take several seconds to load, if not a few minutes. When you click on an application, you get a spinning wheel over your cursor or an error message.

Having a slow processing speed does not necessarily mean you have a virus. You may have several programs running at once. You may need to restart your computer or remove an application that is slowing everything down.

Try some tips for speeding your computer up. Take a look at your applications and see which ones are active. Restart your computer and download any updates that might be helpful.

2. Ads and Pop-Ups

Adware produces ads and pop-ups. While using your internet browser, your website may get redirected to another page. Words may be highlighted in the middle of sentences, redirecting you to advertisements.

Many people download viruses after accidentally clicking on ads. They may see an ad that seems legitimate, only to download a virus instead. Some viruses masquerade as anti-virus software in order to trick people.

Annoying ads and pop-ups are computer virus symptoms. You can download legitimate anti-virus software and remove the viruses causing your problems.

Some browsers have extensions that help with various functions. A piece of adware can act as one, tricking your browser into thinking it is legitimate. Visit your extensions and remove anything you do not recognize.

3. Strange Messages

Once a hacker has access to your computer, they can have access to your accounts. They may send social media messages and emails to your friends, trying to steal their information. It is possible for a virus to become downloaded on your computer after you click on someone else's link.

Your accounts may be hacked, but your computer may not be. Contact your friends by calling them on the phone or texting them. Do not use your compromised accounts to contact them, as you may confuse them.

Figure out what exactly is going on. If your accounts are public-facing, see what they are like on another computer. A hacker may have changed your name, photograph, or biographical details.

Even if everything seems fine, log out of your accounts. Run a virus scan on your computer or take it to an IT professional.

Change the passwords on your accounts, selecting unique ones for each of them. Start using two-factor authentication through your phone or email.

Phishing is another way for hackers to gain access to your accounts. Learn how to recognize phishing scams and avoid giving out your personal information.

4. Odd Activity

The symptoms of a computer virus can be hard to notice. You may notice that the fans on your computer are running at high speeds. The back or bottom of your computer may feel hot, even though few or no applications are running.

A hacker can turn your camera or microphone on without you realizing it. Your external modem may start running while you are away from your computer.

A virus is capable of circumventing anti-virus software. On rare occasions, a virus can disable security software entirely so you cannot receive updates or run scans.

Ransomware can disable your computer or encrypt files on it. The hacker will then state that you have to pay them for your computer to be accessible again. If you pay them, your computer may become unusable in any case.

Unusual activity is usually a sign of a virus. You should take note of what exactly is occurring. You should then unplug your computer and get help with it, especially if you are dealing with ransomware.

If you are worried about your camera and microphone, you should learn how to secure your webcam. Place stickers over your camera and microphone and avoid using them. Turn your computer off whenever you are not using it and point it toward a wall.

5. Unwanted Programs

Ads are one unwanted feature that a hacker can download onto your computer. They can download toolbars onto browsers, applications, and files.

Some people may download these programs themselves without noticing them. You may have installed a legitimate piece of software that was packed with viruses.

If you notice other problems with your computer, scroll through the files on it. Delete any files that you don't recognize or don't think are useful to you anymore. You should delete any unusual toolbars or programs as well.

The Most Common Signs of a Computer Virus

There are many signs of a computer virus. A slow processing speed is a general sign that can indicate several kinds of viruses. Ads and pop-ups usually indicate adware.

Once a hacker gets into your computer, they can send messages from your accounts. A virus may make your fans run or turn on your camera. An unexpected program or file may download onto your computer.

Install anti-virus software that will kill your viruses. But if you have a big program, turn to expert help.

Data Doctors can cure your computer virus. Find a location near you.