When humans get a virus, we take it easy, eat some soup, and wait for the storm to blow over. But when computers get a virus, the solution’s not so simple. Depending on the type of virus and software installed, a virus can wreak havoc on your computer, destroying important files and data in the span of hours. For this reason, when cybersecurity fails, identifying a virus early is one of the best means of stopping it.
Unfortunately, computer virus symptoms are rarely as obvious as those of human viruses—your computer’s not about to get the chills, start coughing, or blow its nose. Still, most computer viruses will make themselves known through several less obvious signs, and knowing which signs to look out for can help you take swift, decisive action.
Here are 5 warning signs that your computer’s infected:
1. Slower Run-Time
Slow run-time is usually a key indication that something’s wrong with your computer. Issues with RAM and hard disk space can cause your computer to slow down, but in absence of these factors, slower run-time might indicate a virus. The longer the virus stays on your computer, the more resources it uses, and the slower your computer becomes. If you notice your computer’s not running as quickly as normal, it’s probably time to call in an expert.
2. Webpages and Videos Aren’t Loading
Similar to the aforementioned issue, you probably have a virus if your webpages and videos aren’t loading. Sure, the sites themselves might have an issue, but not if this happens on every site. If you’re waiting several minutes to watch a video, that time would be better spent contacting your IT advisor.
3. Your Account is Sending Strange Messages
Have you ever opened a message from a friend asking you to click a suspicious link? And then you clicked it because, hey, it’s my friend, why would they steer me wrong? Sometimes, these messages are from your friend’s computer, but it’s not your friend who’s sending them. Rather, a hacker took over their email or social media, pretended to be them, and sent you a virus. And once you’ve clicked that infected link, you’ve giving the hacker access to your own computer—he can now pretend to be you and send even more messages, tricking your friends and family members into clicking other infected links.
4. Pop-Up Ads
Good news: random pop-up ads don’t mean your computer’s possessed. Bad news: they mean your computer probably has a virus. Pop-up ads are an obvious indicator that something is amiss. And while these pop-ups can sometimes be a means of communicating important information (…such as when Microsoft announced its Windows 7 EOL initiative), they can also be a reason to bring your computer to your IT advisor for a service check.
5. Other Security Issues
If you think your computer’s infected, you’ll probably try to activate your antivirus. It’s a smart move, but it might prove futile if the virus has already spread to these apps. A virus wants to infect your entire computer, so one of the first points of attack is anything that might stop it. If your antivirus or other security features aren’t working, then you probably already have a virus.
Good cybersecurity habits are your best bet to avoiding a virus, and in the event that these cybersecurity measures fail, swift action could be what saves your computer. Treat a computer virus as seriously as you’d treat a normal virus and take action against it right away. Warm blankets and tea might not help your computer recover, but reliable IT Managed Services can.