Computer viruses have a habit of bringing their friends along for the ride.
If you pay attention to your router lights or network activity indicators (perhaps on your cable modem), you will see a general pattern.Virus activity will sometimes tip itself off with a major change in that activity. Most of the time, your internet connection is going to be pretty active when you’re browsing the internet. However, IF you close all of your apps – browsers, email, chat windows, etc – you should see your network activity drop to almost nil. However, there are programs that do automatically update and trigger the network activity lights – so not all network activity is bad. BUT, if you see your network just humming away for extended periods of time – and there’s nothing running – that can be an indicator of a virus pulling things down to your computer.
Unmistakeable signs of a computer virus
When you get to the point where there are a few viruses on your computer, it’s likely you will see some unmistakeable signs.
- Your computer may start to hang badly when you browse the internet. Viruses can tie up your network with their OWN activity – they really don’t care about your browsing habits!
- Search results pages can be set to something that you’ve never heard of instead of your faithful Google or Yahoo search results page.
- You can’t hit sites like Symantec, Microsoft or McAfee. Viruses frequently block you from accessing places where you MIGHT be able to get rid of them – including most antivirus company websites.
- Control Panel is unavailable or locked out to you. God forbid you be able to SEE what the virus has done to your settings – so you get blocked out of that.
- Internet Settings are unavailable. Usually this is due to the internet settings being modified to use the new proxy server that is running on your computer to route all web requests through the virus. Your DNS settings may have been changed as well to track your web requests.
- Odd messages about certain programs being “unavailable”.
- Programs not launching. They may launch but then immediately disappear.
- Your friends keep getting emails from you that you KNOW you didn’t send. These emails will usually be encouraging them to visit some oddball site – which will try to download a virus to THEIR computer.
There are a number of symptoms. The BEST defense is to keep an eye on what your computer usually does and be suspicious when it starts doing things out of the ordinary. See new popups when you fire up Windows? Things like little black Command or DOS windows popping up unexpectedly are a tip off. These ARE used frequently when software does updates, but if you haven’t been doing any updating lately, then they are suspect.
Virus activity can include pulling down more garbage (or more virus files), sending out email messages, or worse, sending out your private information to some other location. There’s no end to what virus writers come up with to do with your computer. It is extremely important to scan for and remove PC virus and spyware on a regular basis!
Other annoying Computer Virus habits
Browser hijacking is one of the popular ones. Attacks of this type usually change your DNS settings to a server of the virus’ choice. A DNS server is where your computer figures out where to go when you type in “www.anysite.com”. The virus will redirect your computer to use THEIR server – NOT the one that is normally supplied by your ISP. This server has a number of addresses repointed or even blocked. IF you think you have one of these viruses, try to hit Symantec or Microsoft. Most of the time, viruses will block off addresses that will allow you to get the tools to remove them. THAT is a sure sign that you’re infected! Similarly, the same type of virus will frequently redirect your browser to do searches from a specific server – regardless of where YOU want to do the search from. If you start getting odd search page results (frequently littered with porn and other unusual content) or it’s not the search engine that you normally use, you can be pretty sure you’re infected.
Annoying Computer Virus Popups
Popups in general will usually come up unexpectedly. These will stop you from running pretty much anything on your computer until it they are removed. If you have this type of computer virus, you WILL know it. Other computer virus popups happen only when you have a browser open, but can happen in some cases when you’re just connected TO a network. If the computer virus is in a position to get data from the internet, it’s likely active.
Frequently, the popups will be porn (which remains the biggest seller by far on the internet – so they’re only pandering by numbers), and it can be REAL embarrassing to have to deal with that. Honestly, having porn popups on your computer does NOT mean you have actually ever visited a porn site. It IS more likely, but still anyone can get these popups.
We are currently seeing a number of fake antivirus programs or similar fake antispyware programs masquerading as legitimate software. No matter what the popup is hawking – clicking on it will only make the computer virus problem worse. Computer virus repair will definitely be in your future.
Fake Antivirus programs – they promise SO much – and then infect you further – ARRRRGGGGH!