Computer viruses have become so sophisticated that even organisations with comprehensive virus protection and security have been falling prey to their attacks. That means, you and I are forever at the mercy of malicious cyber attacks. However, all hope is not lost. Exercising a bit of common sense and remaining vigilant of potential attacks can help save your data and computer. In the digital space, it is always better to be safe than sorry and ensure that you are always protected by a good antivirus programme. But, in case a virus does hack through, you need to spot the attack as early as possible to take remedial action.
7 Ways To Know If Your Computer Has Been Affected By A Virus
Your password settings have changed.
If you happen to notice that your login credentials to your computer, email or social media platforms have changed, it is time to pay close attention. You may have accidentally responded to a “phishing email” that claimed to be sent by a company for whose services you were using the login details.
Notify your friends and family of the virus attack so that if they receive correspondence from you, they’ll know not to respond. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft or others have clear guidelines on how you can recover your account in the event of a virus hack.
2. Frequent pop-ups all over your screen.
While working on your computer, if you happen to keep getting pop-up windows asking you to click to win a prize or download some sort of software, you are at an early stage of a virus attack. Responding to those pop-ups will eventually worsen the situation. This particular virus (or spyware) attack usually takes place as a result of vulnerabilities on your web browser.
3. Your friends complain of receiving spam communication from you.
This specific type of virus hack results in your social media accounts or emailed being compromised. If it is the former, your social media channel may be posting spam content on your behalf on your social feed. Or, communicating to your friends via a messenger. If your email was affected, the virus will be sending automatic emails to your contacts trying to get them infected, too.
4. Frequent crashes or slow performance.
A clear indicator of a virus attack is that you encountering frequent crashes when working on your computer. It may suddenly crash (switch off or get “stuck”) or you see the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. These may have serious consequences as they may render your computer inoperable. These types of attacks also tend to slow down your computer drastically. The virus begins to utilise much of your computer resources, thus slowing the machine substantially.
5. Automatic redirects to other websites.
When you open your browser, there are instances where you may get redirected to a website you had no intention of visiting. This is due to a virus planted by hackers who make money from other website owners for getting visitors or clicks on their websites. Although not very harmful to your computer, as in the case of all virus attacks, it is best to err on the side of suspicion and take immediate action.
6. Unusual activity on your computer.
Every time your computer performs an operation other than what you intended, you need to be weary of a virus attack. Such action could include one or more of the following:
- Files are missing
- New software installed on your computer
- Some files or hard disk being inaccessible
- Mouse cursor operating on its own
- Computer restarting frequently
Although they seem “innocent” on the surface, these activities could be symptoms of a more serious threat lurking beneath the hood of your computer.
7. Fluctuations in your bank or credit card balances.
If you have noticed small expenses on your credit card statements, try to trace them by speaking to your bank and halting your credit card. Chances are a computer hacker has planted a virus on your computer and has managed to steal your credit card details. Under such attacks, victims are usually lucky if they spot any unauthorised activity on their credit cards. With many of us not paying attention to our credit card statements, it is easy to overlook an attack until the bank starts calling you for payments of goods you do not recall buying. Chances are by that time; the criminal has managed to max out your credit card.
If you even mildly suspect your computer having been hacked by a computer virus based on any of the above criteria, do not wait around to explore further. Run a full system scan using upgraded anti-virus software, or seek professional help from your local best smart outlet in computer viruses. Remember, “a stitch in time saves nine.”
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