How to check if your computer has picked up a virus online
These days computer viruses are just a fact of life, and that goes for Macs as well as Windows PCs. It therefore makes sense to learn to how to check if your computer has picked up a virus online - and what you can do if you think that it has.
First of all, you need a baseline of your computer’s standard performance
You need to be familiar with the way your computer usually behaves to pick up on any differences which could be a sign of a virus. Unless you give your computer some regular, basic, maintenance, then its performance is probably going to degrade over time as it becomes overloaded. This can make you think you have a virus when you don’t or hide the signs that you do have a virus.
Because of this, you want to get into the habit of decluttering your computer regularly. The more often you do this, the less work it will be each time. In particular, you want to purge browser extensions, apps/programs and files. After each declutter, anything left on your computer should not just be something you recognize, but something you either really need or really love.
If you keep tabs on how your computer performs under normal circumstances, then it should be easy to spot any signs of performance issues which could point to a virus eating away at your system resources. Additionally, if you minimize what you keep on your computer and make sure it is backed-up, you’ll be less exposed if the worst does happen.
Remember that malicious software does not just mean viruses
Even though everyone uses the terms “virus” and “antivirus”, these days, viruses are just one form of malicious software. Their defining characteristic is that they self-replicate, which often leads to performance issues such as slowdowns and random crashes. There are several other kinds of malware including spyware, adware, lockware and ransomware. It’s probably safe to assume that more forms of malware will be created over the course of time.
Spyware is extremely difficult to detect, which is one of the reasons why it’s so very dangerous. Adware, lockware and ransomware are, however, only too easy to detect. Adware shows adverts all the time. Lockware locks you out of your computer, either by locking the screen or disabling all the controls. Ransomware either freezer your computer or encrypts your files.
The idea behind adware is, of course, that it generates ad revenue. The idea behind lockware and ransomware is that you pay to get access to your computer/files. This payment is usually made by means of a cryptocurrency transfer, which needs to be done within a short time-frame, to limit your options for doing anything about it. In principle, you can get rid of lockware and ransomware by paying but, but this is not recommended for many reasons, one of which being there is absolutely no guarantee it will work.
Treating a malware attack
If you think you have picked up malware then your first step should be to try to download an antivirus and have it treat your computer. Sadly, at that point, you’ll need to have some luck on your side as malware creators will often block victims from doing exactly that.
If this doesn’t work, you basically have two options, depending on your situation. If you can still use your computer to some degree, you might want to try hunting down the malware and uninstalling it. Just be aware that you may spend a lot of time on this only to discover that the malware creator has blocked you from uninstalling their creation.
If you’re in this situation, then, depending on your IT competence and your operating system, you may want to think about getting professional help. Basically, at this stage, probably your only real option to escape the trap is to restore your computer to a point in time before the malware struck. If that fails, then basically you’re looking at wiping your computer clean, reinstalling the operating system and essentially starting from scratch.
When it comes to malware, prevention is better than cure
There are two steps to take to protect your computer from picking up malware. First of all, you need to remember that good digital security is based on good physical security. Keep that fact in mind at all times. Secondly, you absolutely must have a robust antivirus in place and that antivirus needs to have effective spyware protection as spyware can be (virtually) impossible for a human to detect until it is too late. Head to this page right now to download Comodo antivirus for your computer and get all the protection you need to keep your personal data safe!