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Does my computer have a virus?

Is your computer behaving erratically? Or is it slower than usual? These could be signs that you have a nasty virus and that virus is doing whatever it can to make your life miserable. Like sending weird emails to your entire contact list. 

Other signs of impending doom could be that your computer keeps crashing, especially when you open a specific file or program. Or you could be receiving strange messages when programs refuse to open. 

If your external hardware (printers, scanners, etc) will no longer respond to your commands that could be another sign of a virus. 

Malware is also responsible for replicating itself until your hard drive is completely full, so if you notice that file sizes are fluctuating that is a big warning sign.

Viruses can affect your business

For most of us, terms like spyware, malware, and trojans (aren't those condoms?) are just plain confusing. Typically, when we don't understand something we're just not that worried about it and it is this thinking that prevents us from taking the steps necessary to protect our computers.

However, computers infected with viruses have a serious impact on your business. Not only with day-to-day functionality (programs need to work in order for work to done) but viruses can corrupt your data, steal passwords and malware can even be used to gain remote access to your computer system.

Both Macs and PCs are susceptible to viruses, spyware and malware. Even though Macs have been notoriously virus-free, their day will come as the virus game comes up with more intricate and deadly viruses to target them.

Even if you don't notice any of the red flags mentioned above, you could very well have a virus that has been going unnoticed. These viruses dig themselves deep into your system and snag passwords, vital information and sensitive files. Without an anti-virus program, you could be at risk.

No business owner wants to deal with information loss, privacy violations, or system downtime. So let's talk about ways to deal with a virus and how to prevent them.

What to do when you discover a virus:

                Disconnect from your network. Whether you are dealing with your home computer or one at the office, immediately turn off the network discovery setting to Wi-fi or WAN, LAN.

               Block the viruses access to the internet using your firewall. If you aren't currently using a firewall program, update your anti-virus program one last time and completely disconnect from the internet. This will prevent the virus from reaching out for help using the internet.

                 Turn off sharing. To prevent the spread of the virus, turn off any automatic sharing preferences, even if it is just iTunes.

               Update your OS (Operating System). This will not get rid of the virus, but it will create a security stopper for leaks that will prevent the spread of the virus.

                Update and run your anti-virus program. This is the only surefire way to confirm that you have a virus and take action to remove it.

               Reinstall your OS. Worst case scenario only because you may lose information along the way, but it will save you from having to buy a new computer. This is why it is so important to have your files backed up!

 What not to do:

As soon as you notice that you could have a virus, immediately stop the spread by avoiding these actions. 

                Don't log in to personal accounts that contain sensitive information.

                Do not use your email to send attachments.

                Avoid plugging in external storage devices.

                Don't copy or backup any files.

                Most importantly, do not shop online using your credit card or online banking.

 

How to prevent a virus

 The most important factor in preventing viruses is being proactive. Your anti-virus and anti-spyware/malware programs must be run on a weekly basis. Ignoring the risks will not make them go away and it certainly won't deter the people who are creating them.

Pay attention to the sites you visit. Don't visit any sites you wouldn't want your grandmother to know about. Remember, if they seem suspicious - they probably are.

Be careful with downloads. Just because it's free, doesn't mean it's virus-free. Avoid downloading email attachments from unknown senders.

Use your common sense. If you notice one of the red flags we talked about, take action right away. This could mean the difference between a little frustration and a full-on catastrophe.

What steps do you take to prevent viruses? We want to hear from you! Ask us a question or comment below.

Recommended Resources: 

How to know if your computer has a virus. http://www.howstuffworks.com/how-to-tech/how-to-know-if-your-computer-is-infected.htm

 http://www.switched.com/2009/02/19/got-a-computer-virus-heres-what-to-do-and-not-do/

** Top 5 Best Anti-virus for iPhone ** Top 5 Best Anti-virus for iPhone http://www.nissat.org/best-antivirus-iphone-2013/

 ** Top 3 Android Anti-virus Apps ** Top Android Security Apps" http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/top-android-security-apps/

 

Still have questions about your computer's security? Get In Touch " Contact us today to talk to a trusted computer security advisor. 

We want to connect you to worry-free technology.

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