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Symptoms of a Virus Infected Computer
Part II
It's like the common cold.  You'd think someone would have cured both by now.  Unfortunately, it looks like computer viruses are just getting stronger and smarter.
In the early days, a virus would delete your files and spread to other computers.  It was annoying, but the effects were easy to detect and contain.
Today, in addition to traditional viruses, there are Trojans, worms, ransomware, spyware, adware and plenty of other "wares."  The computer industry term for all this is "malware."
Even state-of-the-art computer security can't always keep up with new threats.  Of couse, everyone should still be running up-to-date security programs. Fortunately, a professional IT technician can help you with this issue.  Choosing the right security system for your computer is not an easy task.

Running into pop-up ads while surfing the Web used to be par for the course.  Thanks to pop-up blocking now standard in modern browsers, these annoyances aren't common. 

Still seeing pop-ups online from multiple sites?  It could be a badly-configured browser.

Seeing pop-ups when your browser isn't even open?  It's usually adware, spyware, or scareware.

You can usually tell it's the last one if the pop up says "a virus was detected."  It will offer you a paid program to remove the virus.  Of course, you'll just be downloading even more malware.  Your regular anti-virus might not seem to stop this-especially if it is one of the "free antivirus" solutions out there.  A professional security system will be most effective to get to the root of the problem.
    A dangerous feature of most malware is that it spreads.  With always-on Internet, email, instant messaging and social media available, modern viruses have it easy.  Once they're on your computer, they have plenty of options.  You might see friends replying to email messages you didn't send.  Perhaps you notice a post on your Facebook profile you didn't write.

    In most cases, these will have a tempting link.  If your friends and family click the link, they're infected and the virus spreads even further.

    Keep an eye on your email "sent" folder and on your social network posts.  If you see items you didn't send or post, change your account passwords immediately.  This will lock out a virus that's stolen your passwords.

    Then go to your IT technician and have him/her scan your system with professional tools.  After the virus is removed, go ahead and change your passwords again, just in case.

    Be sure to let your friends and family know you were hacked.  That way they can take precautions for their accounts as well.


    Having trouble taking back your account from a virus or hacker?

    You're surfing the Web minding your own business.  Suddenly a scary message appears.  It says law enforcement has detected illegal material on your computer.  You've been locked out until you pay a fine!

    Of course it's a lie.  A virus has taken over and is holding your computer ransom.  That's why it's commonly called  "ransomware."

    Some ransomware doesn't even try to be sneaky.  It tells you up front that hackers took over your system.  You have to pay to get it back.

    We don't recommend paying.  You most likely won't get your computer back.

    Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to run your normal anti-virus program.  You'll need to call your computer tech right away to take care of this particular situation.

    In some cases, the ransomware actually encrypts your files.  If that happens, you better have a recent backup.  Even if you get rid of the virus, your files might be lost.

    If a computer is misbehaving, most computer users hit Ctrl + Alt + Del.  The "three-finger-salute" lets you open up Task Manger.  This can show you what programs are causing trouble.

    Sometimes, you'll hit this keyboard shortcut and nothing happens.  Your Start Menu won't open.  Nothing happens when you right-click the desktop.  Your software won't run.

    This is often a clue that a virus is messing with your computer.  It's doing what it can to keep you from identifying it and removing it.

    This is where your tech needs to perform a deep cleaning of your system.  If that fails, it could also be a hardware problem.  Most likely it is a bad RAM, hard drive, or failing power supply, just to mention a few of the problems that create these symptoms.


    We run into many people who don't install security software.  The excuse is always the same:  "But my computer runs just fine without it.  If I had a virus, I'd know."

    The simple fact is that you don't know.  Modern malware can hide deep in your computer without raising red flags.  It will just quietly go about its business.

    There are some sneaky viruses that will remove other viruses so you don't get suspicious!

    Just because a virus isn't disruptive, it doesn't mean it isn't dangerous.  It could be snagging your passwords, sensitive files or other vital information.  The virus could be using your computer to send spam.  It could even attack banks and other organizations.

    You won't know until your identity is stolen and your bank account is drained.  Maybe your Internet slows to a crawl or your service provider shuts down your connection.

    Some people never figure it out.  There are computers out there that have been sending spam for years.  Their owners have no clue.

    That's why every computer user, even Mac users, needs professional up-to-date security software installed.  Keep it updated and set it to run regular, automatic scans.

    Professional IT technicians will configure your ISS to be the most secured and reliable possible.