What is a PC Virus?
A PC virus is a file, patch or software coded to damage the computer whether by targeting its files, programs or registry. Viruses are usually spread by mail, websites, or using any hardware like flash memories or CDs.
How do they Affect the PC?
Depending on their types, viruses can have several effects on the victim’s PC. For instance, some of the viruses target the memory of the PC (RAM), keeping the memory resources occupied. Another type can target the files of the PC, causing them to be either unreachable or unreadable.
How do they Circulate?
So, imagine you are working on the PC, and you receive an email, the sender is unknown, but the subject seems very familiar or even very catchy… Your curiosity pushed you to open the email, download the attachment and even open the downloaded file. You realize that the content of the attachment is basically nothing, you think it’s a corrupted file. Suddenly funny things start happening to your PC, and you still have no idea what is going on. Actually what happened is that the file you downloaded has either Macro enabled content, or a .exe file that you executed. In the case of .exe, the file is called “Trojan Horse“, since you executed it thinking it was something else. Or perhaps you received a love letter that as soon as you open it, your PC gets infected with the “iLoveYou” Worm.
One of the latest virus attacks using emails was the “Ransomware” that locks your files and asks for a ransom in order to unlock them. This being said, one of the ways these viruses circulate is by Mail. Another spreading technique is using websites. Opening an infected website will automatically download a file that once you open, spreads the virus in the PC. One last method is by circulating an infected USB. You sometimes notice that as soon as someone plugs a USB to your computer, some of your files get damaged.
What to do when Infected?
If your corporate PC gets infected, the first thing you need to do is to Turn Off your PC. Do not even try to fix it yourself (unless you are a professional), and call your technical support.
If your personal PC got infected by a virus, follow these steps:
- Turn Off your PC immediately
- Run the PC in Safe Mode
- Start your Anti-Virus Software
- Perform a complete System scan
- Delete all the detected threats
- Restart your PC
- Start it again in Safe Mode
- Run a new complete System scan
- Again, delete detected threats (if applicable)
In case you still notice the presence of suspicious behavior, try resetting the operating system. If none of the above worked for you, then i’m afraid you have no choice but to format your PC.
How to Avoid Getting Infected?
To avoid getting infected, make sure your Operating System is always up to date. These updates usually contain the latest security patches for your PC, making it harder for viruses to infect your computer.
Also, do not forget to keep your anti-virus up to date, since these updates will download the latest definitions on your PC. Thus, it will be easier to detect and stop viruses from taking action.
In addition to the above, make sure to turn on the Firewall. Firewalls makes it harder and sometimes impossible for viruses to bypass them.
It’s up to You
Viruses do not have superpowers, so after all it’s your responsibility to keep your computer safe and virus free. Avoid downloading attachments from emails you feel suspicious about, do not visit unknown websites… if by mistake you opened a website and you find a download started, stop the download immediately and delete the downloaded file. Also, avoid plugging an unknown USB to your computer, since you have no idea what kind if infections it is carrying.
Last but not least, it never hurts to keep a backup of your files on an external disk or USB, so no matter what happens, you have access to them.