By Jerod Collins
Viruses and spyware: A computer owner’s worst nightmare. Viruses and spyware are the some of the worst hassles to deal with when it comes to using a computer. They cost companies and individuals a fortune every year in cleanup cost. They can affect a computer in many different ways, ranging from slowing you down, giving false error messages to scare you into sending the virus creator money to remove it, and even stealing your personal information. You might be infected and not even know it. Here are some signs to look for if you think you are infected.
1. Your computer’s performance degrades: If you see that you are running slower than you have been a few days prior, that is usually a good sign that you are infected. Malicious applications usually drain your computer’s resources and can cause you to lose performance.
2. Takes forever to startup: If you notice that your computer starts up very slowly out of the blue with no modifications on your part, it can mean that a virus has infected your system and is starting up when your computer is as well. This makes the startup process take much longer than it would normally.
3. Toolbars and tray icons out of nowhere: If you ever see a new toolbar that you don’t remember installing when you are browsing the Internet (usually with a strange name like Funmoods, Facemoods, Babylon or Mywebsearch … especially Mywebsearch) this usually means that you are infected. These toolbars are usually easy to remove by going to add or remove programs and uninstalling them. The biggest danger of these toolbars is that they can track your personal information, or they can give you bogus search results that can lead you to virus laden websites.
4. YOUR COMPUTER IS INFECTED!! If you ever see a message randomly pop up on your computer from a random antivirus that you did not install, this is a big sign that you are infected. This is called Scareware and it is designed to “scare” the computer user and make them believe that they are infected, then get you to send in money to remove it. This is a scam! Never send in any money to suspicious sources. I have actually seen a popup with the FBI logo telling the user to send in money to pay for a violation of federal law. Sad to say that they succeeded and the user sent in the money.
There are many other signs to look for if your computer is infected. These include: Your browser keeps crashing; you get a new home page; you can’t access Task Manager; and your CPU usage is 100% at all times. Viruses and spyware creators are becoming more and more clever every day, finding new ways to scam unsuspecting users out of their money through bogus warnings.
The best advice I can give you is this: Be sure to have an antivirus program installed. This will stop many of the computer crippling infections that are out there today. Kaspersky, Trend Micro, Webroot, Norton, all of them do a great job of protecting you online. And remember, if you see something unusual, be cautious.
Do you have a question for the tech guy? Jerod Collins, owner of Digital Remedi, has the answer! Contact him at 843-441-6940 or visit www.digitalremedi.com.