How do I know if my computer has a virus?
If you have internet security on your computer, make sure that
it is up-to-date. Anti-virus software is useless if it doesn’t have
the latest information on common viruses. Regularly run a full scan
of your computer to check for viruses and spyware. If you have
separate anti-virus and anti-spyware software you should run them
There are some common side-effects that would suggest your
computer may have a virus. The computer might have a virus if:
- your computer shows more errors than usual.
- your computer is very slow.
- you can’t update your security software.
- your internet connection is active when you are not browsing
- strange content has appeared on your computer desktop.
- when you are browsing the internet you are directed to pages
you have not chosen to go to.
- when you open a website ‘pop-ups’ appear.
- windows open that are difficult to close.
- there are unknown processes running in the Windows task
What if my computer has a virus?
If you think your computer may have been infected, do not use it
to access online bank accounts online, to buy anything online or to
access any online accounts that contain your bank account or credit
You should run a full scan with an up-to-date and reputable
virus scanner. This should remove most viruses and will display the
results of the scan. You should then:
- disconnect your computer from the internet or network.
- shut your computer down.
- do not transfer files to or from the infected PC so not to
spread the virus to other computers.
- ensure your computer has all the correct updates.
- if, after running a full scan, the virus is still active, seek
professional help from a reputable computer technician.
Ways to reduce the risk of viruses
Instant Messengers (MSN, Yahoo etc)
- Never accept friend invites from people you don’t know.
- Never accept a file transfer from someone you don’t know.
- Never accept a file transfer from a friend unless you are
- Avoid clicking on links that you are unsure about.
- Messenger viruses are very common. If you get a message that
looks like an advert for something then do not click on it.
- Do not open attachments if you are not sure of the content,
even if they come from friends.
- Be cautious of .exe files.
- Check the footer of emails for a virus scan receipt. This shows
the email was scanned before it was sent.
- Do not open ‘free’ software such as screensavers and games.
These are commonly used to spread viruses or ‘Trojan horses’.
- Be aware of scam emails that appear to be from your bank or
email provider. Do not give away your personal information. Think,
would the company really contact you in this way?
- Avoid forwarding unsolicited emails to colleagues and friends.
These are popular ways for viruses to be spread.
- Avoid websites that ask you to download a program to run.
- Be careful of fraud websites that look like the real thing but
are actually set up to lure people to enter the personal banking
- Make sure the URL of the site is the official address.
- Watch out for websites that re-direct you.
- Do not download unknown files.
- Use reputable search engines, such as Google or Yahoo.
- When making transactions online ensure the website you are
using is secure by looking for the padlock symbol.