How Does a Virus Infect a Computer?
When you see a pop-up on your computer coming from your antivirus software that says “virus,” you know that there is some type of issue. However, not all viruses are extremely dangerous, and they are often categorized according to the threat level they carry. Some viruses are simply annoying, but others are quite dangerous, and there is no such thing as a ‘good’ virus.
If you download a file with a virus attached, you still might be able to run the program, but now you have an extra ‘bonus,’ and this is a bonus that you do not want.
How Do You Know If There Is a Virus?
If you are using a computer that has the most current version of a reputable antivirus program, it should know when there is a virus on the computer or can warn you if you are about to download one. It is important that you scan your computer regularly, and make sure to schedule scans and downloads through your antivirus software. Though there are always new viruses that appear every day, most antivirus software is good at keeping up with these threats.
When a good antivirus program recognizes a virus, it will immediately quarantine any associated file that it finds. Once the virus has been isolated, it may ask if you want to delete it immediately or put it aside. It is a good idea to take a look at the file, as sometimes the program may consider a legitimate file a virus and attempt to delete it. The quarantine feature allows the computer’s owner the opportunity to either restore the file or remove it.
How to Stop an Infection and Prevent Future Viruses
To delete the file from your computer, your security software will typically give you step-by-step instructions, or some will do it for you. If you have a Windows-based computer, Microsoft offers many tools to fight and remove the virus or malware. If you have antivirus software and operating system protection, you should be able to protect yourself from most viruses.
Here are some steps that you can take to ensure that your system is virus-free:
- Scan for viruses on your computer first, and make sure it is scheduled regularly. If you can run a quick scan every day and a deep scan once a week, that should be enough.
- Make sure that you use the antivirus program’s settings to schedule automatic downloads and updates. If you do not do this, make sure to update your software each day manually.
- Set your e-mail program to let you know if you are downloading a file or picture when opening an email. If possible, try to set your e-mail to only display plain text and not anything else. It should prompt you before it loads any links or pictures that may be contained within.
- Do not ever click on a link or attempt to download a file that is from an e-mail address that is unfamiliar to you. If you do want to access the link from someone unknown, access the website from your bookmarks, manually type the web address into the address bar or browse for the page on an Internet search engine.
Technology does not have to be overwhelming or scary, but it does force you to increase the amount of security you use if you want to keep your information safe. Remember, there are bad guys out there who are doing all they can to access your data and obtain your personal information. In response, you should always be proactive when keeping your security and antivirus software up to date.