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What Is A Computer Virus?
A computer virus is a small software program that spreads from one computer to another and interferes with computer operation. A computer virus might corrupt or delete data on a computer, use an email program to spread the virus to other computers, or even delete everything on the hard disk.Computer viruses are frequently spread by attachments in email messages or by instant messaging messages. Therefore, you must never open an email attachment unless you know who sent the message or you are expecting the email attachment. Viruses can be disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files. Computer viruses also spread through downloads on the Internet. They can be hidden in pirated software or in other files or programs that you might download.
Symptoms Of A Computer Virus/Spyware
1. Home Page Redirects – We all know and love our home page, the Internet page that opens up automatically whenever we start our browsers. If you are noticing that your web browser is displaying a different page, one you’ve never heard of, on startup, however, chances are you have a virus.
2. Significant Slow Downs – Computer viruses eat up a lot of your system resources. If you notice that programs are loading slower, or they won’t open at all, and your hard drive seems to be running constantly, chances are, you have a computer virus infection.
3. Mid Browsing Redirects – Along with having a new home page chosen for you against your will, you may also notice that every 10 or 20 pages you visit automatically sends you back to one you never asked to go to in the first place. These automatic redirects are often a key sign that you have a bug.
4. Pop ups Everywhere – Most of us are used to getting pop up windows as we browse the Internet, but if you are getting them constantly, and they all seem to be for the same one or two websites, then you likely have a virus. Some bugs are so bothersome that you get pop ups even when you aren’t using a web browser.
5. Computer Lock Ups – With today’s lighting fast computer chips, lockups have, for the most part, become a thing of the past. However, if you are noticing that your computer suddenly becomes unresponsive, you are probably exhibiting computer trojan or computer worm symptoms. If this happens every time you run a particular program, try starting up in safe mode and running your virus protection right away.
6. Bizarre Error Messages – Most of us know what typical Windows error messages look like. If you begin to see pop up windows with bizarre or odd sounding error messages in them, try to copy down the message you see and then Google it. You’ll know soon enough if your computer is showing computer virus symptoms or if you have a program that just isn’t acting normally.
7. Fake Virus Scans – Often times, websites will use authentic looking, albeit fake, virus scans of your computer to make it appear that you are infected with hundreds of bugs. The “scan” will then tell you that you need to click on this link and download a computer virus protection software, which, in actuality, is just a pack of viruses. Ignore these scans and perform one of your own to see if you are showing computer virus symptoms.
8. Distortions on your Desktop – If you suddenly notice that dialog boxes, chat windows and other programs look differently than they did before, you either have a problem with your display, your video card or with a virus. Start by running your virus protection software and then move on to non-virus related solutions.
9. A Huge Increase in File Space/Decrease in Free Drive Space – One activity that viruses love is to replicate and to invite their friends over. You can have a computer with an almost empty hard drive, and then a moment later, have one that has run out of space completely. If you’ve gotten a warning about being out of drive space when you shouldn’t be, you are showing classic computer virus symptoms.
10. Huge Decrease in Download Speeds – Not only can a virus take control of your computer, it can hog your bandwidth, as well. Try restarting and resetting your Internet connection to see if your connection speed improves, if not, perform a virus scan immediately.
11. New Icons – Most of us can name the different icons that are on our desktop, but if you see icons disappear or appear that you don’t recognize, your computer is exhibiting classic computer virus symptoms.