Computer Viruses – the Scourge of the Internet – William Mah

What is a computer virus? Well Webster’s Dictionary has a definition but let’s try to figure this out ourselves. A computer virus is generally a file or a program designed to corrupt, delete or take control of software on your computer. In the long run, this can cause major issues for your computer if not dealt with. But fret not, there are ways to stop viruses and many start with you, the user.

Antivirus

Antivirus is a great way to protect your computer from virus. Many antivirus software have access to an external database from which they download virus definitions. Virus definitions are exactly what they sound like, the definition of virus types, or more specifically what the virus does, where it likes to hide and what it is mostly comprised of. “But I always seem to get viruses even with antivirus!”  This is because the virus found a way in or at the time of the infection, it was not considered a virus. You have to think of antivirus much like a castle wall. It protects your vulnerable citizens (computer) but the “enemy” can still get in by climbing the wall or just walking through the open door. When I say open door, I mean when you let the virus in yourself. No, I am not blaming you, dear user, as it was more than likely accidental. You can avoid this by not clicking on ads on websites and by avoiding downloading files from an unknown source (such as emails).

“Then why should I even get antivirus if I can still get viruses?” Well, just because you got one or two viruses with your antivirus doesn’t mean it’s useless. That antivirus stopped 100 other viruses from getting into your computer. With regular updates and scanning you can lower the risk of getting a virus.

 

Help! I have a virus! How do I get rid of it?!

There are many ways to get rid of a virus depending on how severe the virus is. The first step is to unplug your computer from the network. This is to avoid infecting other computers on your network. The next step is to run a virus scan. Just because the antivirus didn’t catch it on its way in, doesn’t mean it won’t find it once it becomes active. Step three is to run a scanner/cleaner. You’ll notice that we generally like to use Malwarebytes. This is because it is great at finding viruses on your computer AND cleaning them off. Normal antivirus can do this as well but we’ve noticed that we have had more success with this product. Some cleaners that we also use are CCleaner and ADWCleaner. These generally will cleanup things that can lead to viruses such as adware and such. If these do not work, then you may have to restore from a backup (one reason why backups of your files are so important) or you can attempt to use a rootkit scanner. Many antiviruses now have a rootkit scanner and can clean it out after a reboot. These are the basic steps to removing a virus off of your computer more advanced steps can be handled by our trained technicians. So please feel free to contact your POD if you think you have an infection.

William Mah

System Specialist

 

 

 

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