What do I do if I have a Virus? (Virus Removal and Virus Protection)

What do I do if I have a Virus? (Virus Removal and Protection)

This article covers what to do if you have a virus, or suspect you have a virus on your computer.

THE CAUSE
You are usually vulnerable to a virus under the following conditions:

1. You have virus protection on your computer, but it is not up-to-date.
2. You have virus protection on your computer, but the virus got through anyway.
3. You have no virus protection at all.

THE SYMPTOMS
Your computer is behaving strangely or in an unexpected way, for example files disappear or become corrupted, your email program seems to be sending emails but you don’t actually see anything being sent or your Internet browser keeps redirecting to websites that you didn’t want to go to. There a re many other possible symptoms, but in most cases you will notice that something is wrong.

For all of the above, there are perfectly reasonable explanations that may not be a virus, such as hardware and software malfunctions, but they could also be the result of your system being infected, so it is wise and prudent to do something about it, bearing in mind that you can do so for free.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOU HAVE A VIRUS ON YOUR COMPUTER
Disclaimer: These steps would help in most cases, but if your system is so badly damaged that it is beyond repair, the following steps may be too late, and some of your data may be lost. You follow them at your own risk. Then again, if you have a virus on your machine, you probably need to do something about it anyway.

If you already have virus protection on your computer:

    a. Make sure it is up-to-date and in licence. If it has expired and you no longer have virus updates, then it is as good as not being there at all. Either renew your licence and scan your computer for viruses, or uninstall it and follow the steps below.
    b. Make sure you do not have more than one virus protection program on your computer. Having more than one provides less, not more, protection. Virus protection programs clash with each other and are likely to reduce your protection. If necessary uninstall the surplus virus programs (but make sure you keep the one that still has an update subscription, if you have one).

NOW FOR VIRUS SCANNING
My approach uses three sets of tools to ensure that if you do have a virus, it is detected and removed:

    c. Finally download and runAd Aware on your machine. The free version will do. This will check to see that you do not have “spyware” on your computer. Nasty programs that send information about you to their creators, or change your settings to serve you unwanted commercial advertising.

Important note: The above programs tend to detect “tracking cookies” as a “threat”. It is likely that quite a few of those would be found on any computer. Though unwanted, they are NOT the risk that is causing you problems. Remove them when asked, but if they are the only thing your scans have found, then your system is very unlikely to have a virus on it.

AND FINALLY – PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FUTURE ATTACKS
By this stage you are likely to know if your computer has indeed had a virus. The scans would have revealed it, and helped you fix the problem. Now is the time to think about protecting your computer longer term, by installing a virus protection program that will reside on your PC and guard it from new threats. Just look up virus and internet protection on Amazon or in your preferred store.


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