Reported Computer Virus
Has your antivirus program reported that a computer virus has been found? Normally, this is a good thing, as the program has found the virus and usually this means that it has done something about it.
But, you should read the report from your antivirus program carefully. Sometimes the program cannot deal with the computer virus as there is no definition what to do with it. This can happen if the virus is a new one, for example, or if the ‘virus’ is a program that is doing something suspicious.
Undiscovered Computer Virus
Is your computer running slower than normal? Has it become unreliable? This could be an indication that your computer has a virus.
Don’t panic! In 2015 317 million viruses were written – that is nearly 1 million new viruses a day! (CNN, 2015).
Types of Computer Virus
When we talk about computer viruses we normally mean malware. Viruses are one type of malware intended to do something to your computer or data. They are designed to damage, disrupt, steal or carry out some other type of bad action on data, hosts or networks.
Generally, there are four main types of malware:
A computer virus is a type of malware that spreads itself by becoming part of another program, leaving infections as it travels from one program to another. They range from annoying effects to damaging data, software and networks causing a denial of service (DOS). Viruses only spread when a user opens or runs an infected executable file.
Computer worms are similar to viruses as they copy themselves and cause the same types of damage. Worms however, do not require a host program or user help to them spread. Normally, they use some trick to make you run the worm program.
Trojan viruses are named after the famous Trojan Horse of legend. The software appears to be legitimate and the user is normally tricked into running the Trojan. Once run, it then spreads through the computer and attached networks. The damage they do ranges from annoying pop ups, damaging computer systems, deleting files, stealing data and are also known to create “back doors” to allow hackers access to your computer.
Bot, comes from the word robot. It is an automated process that will gather information or interact with people on instant messaging and other similar services. Bots can also be used to interact dynamically with websites, for example, filling in forms, sending spam, launching DOS attacks etc.
What to Do if Your Computer Has a Virus
If you can’t fix it straight away, disconnect your computer from the Internet and, ideally, turn it off.
Above all do not, I repeat, do not visit your bank or other sensitive websites – many viruses or malware are written to collect your passwords, banking details, credit card information etc.
When you are able to fix your computer you have a range of different tools available to you. Your own antivirus program may have been attacked, so it may not be the best solution.
Hitman Pro offers a free 30-day trial (https://www.hitmanpro.com/en-us/hmp.aspx). This is a great second opinion malware removal tool and can help you out of a fix. It does need to be connected to the Internet to work. Simply run Hitman Pro and let it find the malware on your system.
Malwarebytes (https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/) is another free tool that works really well, again, simple to run and will find a lot of malware types.
Windows Defender. Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender built in. Simply type ‘Windows Defender’ into the search box (Cortana, bottom left of most desktops) and select ‘Windows Defender, desktop app.’ If you use a different security suite you will need to turn it on. If you have an older version of Windows, you can download Windows Security Essentials for free (https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=5201).
It won’t harm your computer to use a combination of all three – as they are freely available and each will be better at finding different types of malware, you will have a bit more assurance.
Once you have fully scanned your computer using one or more of these programs, update your own antivirus and carry out a full scan.
I personally prefer Bitdefender (www.bitdefender.co.uk) Internet Security as this gives me a full suite and provides protection from all types of malware and, they recently added a ransomware protection option. Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your computer, the hacker will then demand a huge sum of money to unlock your computer’s data, you can guarantee, once they have your money, they will not give you your data back, but rather demand more money.
Bitdefender isn’t the only internet security suite, others include Norton and Kaspersky.
What to Do if Your Computer Has a Virus – Conclusion
Follow the steps above to ensure you remove malware from your computer. It won’t hurt to use more than one method, or program. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you will encounter a computer virus that just won’t go, is very persistent (some are designed this way) and will require further help, it may even need a full factory reset. Also, don’t forget that your system restore points may be infected, don’t create one whilst you have a virus, seek professional help. Your local computer technician will be able to help you.
A small plug here, North Wales PC Repair covers the whole of the North Wales area and offer a fixed fee repair – no matter how long it takes, you will still pay the same fee, contact North Wales PC Repair using the contact page on this website.