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How to spot a virus on your computer

25th August 2014

This short guide is aimed at helping you understand what virus and malware look like on your computers and we hope it will help you to keep your devices protected. If however a device does become infected we hope that this will help you to spot it and deal with it effectively. 

Below are the dictionary definitions of malware and viruses. 

Malware
“Short for "malicious software," malware refers to software programs designed to damage or do other unwanted actions on a computer system. In Spanish, "mal" is a prefix that means "bad," making the term "badware," which is a good way to remember it (even if you're not Spanish).”

Virus
“Like a biological virus, a computer virus is something you don't want to get. Computer viruses are small programs or scripts that can negatively affect the health of your computer. These malicious little programs can create files, move files, erase files, consume your computer's memory, and cause your computer not to function correctly. Some viruses can duplicate themselves, attach themselves to programs, and travel across networks. In fact opening an infected e-mail attachment is the most common way to get a virus.”

So how can you tell when you have a virus?

Websites

 500 internal server error

When you try and load up a website, it may say “cannot connect to webpage”. You may also see popup messages when you go onto some websites.

Desktop performance

Desktop performance

Your computer’s performance may have been reduced or running slower than normal. You will notice this when you go to open applications they may take a while to load.

Error messages

error message

Unexpected error messages might pop up or programs might start up without you clicking on them.

Scaning for malware

Scanning

Run a scan with Malware Bytes for malware and Microsoft Security Essentials or your virus protection software for viruses. These will pick up on any infection your computer may have.

Unexpected behaviours

error message 2

Your computer may not load up correctly, it may show blue screen or restart itself without you doing anything. Another symptom is when Windows is loading up it may hang on the ‘welcome’ or ‘Windows is starting’ screen.

What to do if you think you have malware or a virus:

The first step is always to run your virus scan software and if you think the virus is persisting, contact your technical support company to ensure you do not lose any data.