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Dammit! I think I got a virus

Yes, that’s how it all started. It was late evening and I was just watching a cartoon movie on my computer, completely oblivious to the hidden dangers that were soon to crash my digital world.

Just about when Tom was about to squash Jerry, my computer started behaving like a car about to breakdown. First, it just went into a buffer loop and I started swearing on my internet provider. Then it just stood there, without moving forward or back.

And I realized….dammit! I think I got a virus….

Computers are completely fickle things. It will slow down, get stuck, sputter and then die when you need it the most. Of course, most of these situations don’t require you to press a panic button, but still you need to know what went wrong.

So, if you get stuck in a situation like mine, here is how to understand if a virus is causing you all the agony.

Pop Up Ads

If you are online, then bumping into pop ups is inevitable. Thanks to pop up blockers that are there in almost all browsers now, this nuisance has reduced drastically. But if you see pop ups when no browser is open, then it can be a virus. Again, if you see a pop up that says ‘a virus was detected’ and it offers a paid program to get rid of it, then it is surely a virus. Of course, if you click on this, then you will download further more malware or viruses.

If your regular antivirus has not detected this problem, then use an antispyware and get your computer scanned.

Phantom Messages

These are messages that go from your account, but you never wrote them. Why it happens? Say special thanks to our always connected and interconnected social profiles and mails. Since, you are so active online, replying to mails, commenting on Facebook, sharing posts, then why should hackers be left behind? Since, we are always logged in and most of our accounts are interconnected, hackers get easy entry.

So, always keep an eye on sent items and posts on your social media profiles. If there is a post or mail that you never wrote, then change the password of that account immediately. Also, tell your friends and family that your account was hacked. If they click on that message, the virus spreads further and the chain goes on.

Ransomware

Believe me when I say, this has become one of the most common ways of spreading virus.

If you suddenly find you have been locked out of your computer and a message comes up saying law enforcement has detected some illegal stuff on your computer and now you need to pay a fine, then you should know that it is ransomware.

Of course, you shouldn’t pay, you will not get your computer back. But sadly, a regular antivirus will not be able to fix the problem either. You need a rescue CD. Try Windows Defender Online and it should be able to take you out of this problem.

Tools and Programs Stop Working

This is what happened to me and I did the ‘three finger salute’, you know Alt+Ctrl+Del. With this command the Task Manager should open and show which programs are causing the problem. But even after this command, if the Task Manager doesn’t open and when you right click on your desktop the security software doesn’t react, then you have a virus on board.

You will now need deep cleansing and again you will need a rescue CD to help you out.

All Looks Good

Just because you don’t have the obvious virus symptoms, it doesn’t mean your computer can’t be infected. There are some really sneaky viruses that just sit there quietly and do nothing to come in notice. These viruses will silently send out spam mails from your account, capture your passwords, get your bank details and even lead to identity theft.

Always have a security software on your computer whether Mac or Windows. You can’t go wrong in being safe, but leaving yourself vulnerable is equal to living without a life insurance and waiting for a truck to hit you.

The choice is yours.

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