How to tell if your computer has a virus
Ever get an uncomfortable feeling, just before you come down with a cold? That little tickle at the back of your throat is trying to tell you something. Your computer can suffer from a virus too, so if you notice things taking a bit too long to load up or lots of pop ups on the screen, you could be looking at an infection.
How can I tell if my computer has a virus?
Modern viruses have evolved since the days of harmless pranksters writing programs to open your CD drive at will, and have generally evolved into two main camps – The Covert, and the Overt.
What is an overt computer virus?
Overt infections are immediately noticeable, generally causing pop ups on the screen, either advertising products you have no interest in, or more frequently, messages designed to scare you into handing over credit card details somehow. These range from police warnings that your computer is housing illegal software/content, and demanding payment to stop them, to actual warnings you are infected with a virus and need to pay to remove them – rather cheeky, considering it’s a virus that’s causing the problem!
Other symptoms involve redirecting your internet searches to web pages you didn’t want to visit, thus exposing you to websites that earn money for the virus writers, and again possibly to further infections. The important thing is not to fall for any fake advertising, and to get the virus seen to immediately – do not enter payment details anywhere, as once you’ve “paid off” the infection, there’s no guarantee it’ll go away, and you’ve just handed over important financial and personal information to unscrupulous groups. Even if the infection has locked your documents, and wants money to unlock, do not fall for it.
What is a covert computer infection?
Covert infections are more difficult to detect, leaving no obvious brightly coloured pop ups or threats to tip you off, instead they hide deep within the computer, silently collecting keystrokes to capture usernames, passwords and sensitive banking data, or secretly sending out advertising emails to your friends under your name.
To detect a covert computer infection, note subtle differences in your computer's behaviour. Are you getting emails bounced back saying 'undeliverable', that you never sent? Or perhaps your sent items folder is full of emails spamming about adult drugs and services that you were unaware of. When logging onto your bank site, does it look at all different? Is it asking for more information than usual? All these could be clues that there is something malevolent lurking under the surface of your computer, but fear not! Call Geek Squad and ask us to run a quick scan of your computer to determine if it is infected, and put your mind at ease or treat the problem.
Perhaps you don’t notice anything untoward, except your anti virus popping up more often than normal to tell you it's found and cleaned something – if it keeps doing it, there’s a chance it's cleaning up part of an infection and yet not getting rid of everything entirely.
What should I do if I think my computer has a virus?
Call Geek Squad and ask us to run a quick scan of your computer to determine if it is infected. We can put your mind at ease or treat the problem. No security software is 100% effective, and that’s why when Geek Squad run a fix on a computer we use a suite of specialist tools from the top antivirus companies, to ensure your machine is as clean as the day you bought it!