Computer viruses are virtually everywhere thanks to the world of networking and global internet connectivity. These viruses can corrupt systems and cause huge damages and data loss. Depending on the type of virus, your computer will behave differently from other infected devices. There are some malware that replicate themselves and fill up the entire space within your hard drive while others corrupt the data on your machine and make your computer completely unstable.
There have been reports of malicious software that accesses email programs and copies contact lists before barring access to certain folders within your computer. Behind a malware or virus, there is always a hacker who uses it to access your computer from a remote location.
There is no one who enjoys the experience of being infected with a nasty virus and because of this, you need to exercise safe computing habits and to only install programs from verified vendors.
How to Tell If Your Computer Has a Virus
Even if you have a robust anti-virus software, there still exists chances computer viruses may go beyond the defense and infect your system. At times this happens because the anti-virus software database is not up to date or has been compromised by a much cleverer bit of code.
It’s therefore important to know the symptoms pointing towards a virus infection. Below are some of the signs to watch out for.
Computer Instability and Crashes
When your computer all of a sudden becomes unstable, this could be indicative of a weakness in its operating system. Some viruses get into your computer system and disrupts files thereby causing the machine to run improperly. When this problem proceeds, it could even cause your computer to crash.
When you find your computer crashing as you run some applications or open certain files, this should be a sign that something is wrong with the underlying data. Malwares are commonly associated with such problems.
A Slow Computer
If you see your computer running much slower than it used to, this could be a clear case of a malicious code which is draining its processing resources. This is particularly the case where you are not running heavy applications, but your machine is not responding as you expect.
Strange Access Denial Messages
If you keep on getting messages indicating that you can’t access given drives on your computer system, chances are high that something is not right. In addition, you may encounter some files that will never open because they are infected with a virus. There are some other indicators under this category such as printers and other hardware no longer responding to commands. While this is not always because of a virus infection, it could suggest a corruption of your computer command system.
Fluctuating File Sizes
This is quite a strange scenario, but it occurs anyway. Even if you are not accessing the files, their sizes keep on fluctuating.
The problems that have been listed above are not the only ones experienced by people with infected computers, however, they form a huge percentage of the problems.
Computer Virus Pictures
Can A Printer Get a Virus
Printers and other peripheral devices are also susceptible to virus attacks because they are part of networks and some of them have IP addresses. In June 2012, thousands of printers around the world reported malfunctions making them spew pages of gibberish due to a computer virus attack.
The culprit was a malware referred to as miliscenso which was utilized by hi-tech crime groups. It is therefore possible that a printer can be affected by a virus. The viruses usually target the Windows registry and other system files. Some viruses may target the printer spooler resulting into a malfunctioning of the printer. When this happens, the printing device may show error messages or simply refuse to print.
As part of troubleshooting, you can reboot your computer in a safe mode by pressing F8 when it starts. This will enable you to scan your computer system for any viruses. Also, as a way of preventing any future virus attacks, it is recommended that you install updates connected to your printer including antivirus software and firewall.
Comcast Virus Warning
Comcast customers have been some of the victims of malvertising campaigns maliciously designed to forcefully install ransomware on computer systems. Some of the malware directed the customers to fake tech support. The campaign started by placing a fraudulent ad on the Xfinity search page of Comcast.
The ad was purportedly known as SatTvPro.com and was delivered through Google AdWords. When customers clicked on the advert, they were led to the review site which was running on an old Joomla version. Subsequently, the page loads and redirects the user to the Nuclear exploit kit. The exploit kit contained a variety of exploits for software such as PDF, Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash.
Customers whose computers were not fully patched and vulnerable to the kit, they became victims of remote code execution, data theft, and surveillance. Some of the victims were feared to end up with a ransomware known as CryptoWall. The danger with this ransomware is that it had a capacity to lock systems and encrypt files so as to force its victims to yield to its demands and pay a fee in order to get their files back.
In addition, some Comcast customers reported additional phishing attempts through a website designed to resemble Xfinity portal which gave a warning that their systems may have been corrupted. The website then sends the visitors to another platform equipped with a tech support scam which reads a suspicious activity has been detected on the customer’s IP address. It goes ahead to say that some spyware may have been responsible for the security breach at the customer’s network location. It even goes ahead to give the customer a toll-free number to call for technical assistance.
The tech support scam was purposely put in place a secondary port to generate revenue from unsuspecting and vulnerable Comcast customers. In the event the customers believe the Comcast virus warning and call the designated toll-free number, the scammers would then persuade the victims to disclose their account details.
Luckily, Comcast and Google were immediately informed about the scam and the SatTvPro.com domain was then flagged courtesy of Google safe browsing scheme.
Computer Mouse Virus
USB devices, in principle, can be affected by viruses. However, this doesn’t mean that all USB devices including USB mouse can carry viruses. Unless it is an optic mouse which has a writable memory, most ordinary mice are incapable of being affected.
When operating a mouse with a writable memory which means it has programmable macros stored on the device, a malicious piece of software can potentially overwrite the macros. With most modern mice, it is possible for hackers to fit in some code which then causes a HTTP download and running of executable files.
Mouse viruses use the mouse as an attack vector through which they can infect an entire network the moment the mouse is plugged to a computer in the network. It is therefore possible for a computer mouse to have a virus because the microcontroller in it has a non-volatile memory which is writable.
Fake Virus Alert
There lots of pop up messages online some of which may claim you have a virus and as such should install an antivirus software. The irony of it is that these messages could contain a virus that can potentially destroy your computer system and cause identity theft.
The pop up messages contain scareware or rogue antivirus software which may look authentic. Scareware is normally sold to unsuspecting computer users by cyber criminals who incessantly bombard them with pop up warning messages.
The messages may even display a seemingly real time antivirus scan of your computer hard drive and even show a whole list of reputable software icons. Some of the criminals may use botnets which are simply collections of compromised computers to advance their software as well as advertisements on websites. This is what is referred to as malvertising or malicious advertising.
Any attempt to close the fake virus warning pop up messages will lead to the scareware installing malicious code right onto your computer.
Some of telltale signs of fake virus warnings include:
- Ads that promise to protect privacy, delete viruses, clean your registry, remove harmful files, or improve your computer function
- Alerts about illegal pornography on your computer or malicious software
- Invites to download free software
- Pop ups which claim your software is outdated or your computer is vulnerable to attacks
Scareware schemes can be very sophisticated and in case you suspect a fake virus scam, shut down your browser instead of clicking the cancel, No or Yes buttons.
Google Virus Warning
There are times you may open your browser and find your home page has been changed to something different. Whenever you conduct your search query, you may be directed to a totally different search engine. Also, you may see various pop ups that may interrupt your browsing, huge flashy banners, and lots of page redirects. When you see this, you should immediately know that your computer has a Google virus warning installed. It is referred to as a Google browser hijacker.
Google virus warning is not completely harmless because it collects your information and may even lead you to potentially harmful websites. In order to stay safe, pay extra attention before downloading any apps onto your computer or even check reviews left by other users to get an idea of what exactly you are getting yourself into.