Virus infections come in all varieties. Each designed to do harm to your computer. Annoying and persistent pop ups are usually caused by ad-ware type programs. These are generally easy to deal with. However, malicious encryption programs can replace every personal file on your computer with an encrypted one. Many of these are impossible to reverse, and are only recoverable by restoring from a back up or spending hundreds to thousands of dollars by having the data recovered by specialists.
- Removal of all infected files and malicious software
- Clean up of temporary files
- Updates for Windows and other important software
- Decrease wait time during boot up by removing unnecessary programs from start up
- Update your current anti-virus, recommend a replacement, or install a highly rated anti-virus if none present
How does my computer get infected?
Clicking without reading:
- While browsing your favorite websites, don’t be fooled by advertisements saying your computer is infected or needs some kind of plug-in updated. These are common tactics used to deploy malicious programs that will only harm your computer.
- Even legitimate software and updates can sometimes tack on extra toolbars or programs. Always look for check-mark boxes (usually checked by default) that will allow additional programs to be installed. Uncheck these boxes to ensure you’re getting only the software you meant download.
Downloading any malicious software:
- Programs claiming to; speed up your computer, update your drivers, or clean up your registry should raise a big red flag. These types of programs are ineffective and generally cause more harm than good.
- Any ‘free’ programs that will claim to do the above listed items will generally be a limited or trial version. Once installed, you may receive reports or suggestions on how to improve or clean up your computer, but only after you purchase their full or paid version. Many will allow you to enter a credit card into their software or may provide a phone number to further assist you. Under no circumstances should you do either of those things!
Opening attachments in e-mails:
- Most attachments we open are expected to be coming to us. Whether it’s pictures from a recently attended wedding or reports from a coworker. However, not all attachments you receive from a friend or family member should be opened without some discretion. If the email contains unfamiliar web links or is poorly worded, be cautious clicking on anything within that email. Many email accounts are compromised and set up for bots to use for spamming.
Torrenting or Pirating media:
- Although the idea of free movies and music is appealing, you may end up paying a lot more than you would by taking the legal route. Other than potential fees if caught illegally obtaining torrented media, there’s great risk in getting infected files into your computer.
Having no anti-virus:
- Using a computer on the internet always presents a risk for possible virus infection, no matter which websites you visit. Having an anti-virus installed on your computer will greatly reduce the odds of your computer getting infected. It’s important to understand that no anti-virus can prevent 100% of virus infections.
- Anti-virus programs are just like seat belts. Accidents happen all the times, and we rely on our seat belts to help protect us. However, seat belts can’t always protect us as intended. The same goes for you anti-virus program. It’s going to make it’s best effort to keep your computer virus free, but sometimes comes up short. This is true for free and paid anit-virus programs.