Sometimes computers slow down or act strangely because of user error, or sometimes it’s just a matter of forgetting basic maintenance such as disk defragmentatio. However, there are also a lot of times when computers start to bog down because it is infected with a virus. The worst part of this is that the average user generally doesn’t have an idea if a slow computer is just aging, in need of maintenance or infested by malware. To get you out of this predicament, here are some simple reminders that will help you identify if your PC needs a good dose of anti-virus scanning:
Frequent Website Redirects
If you are regularly seeing your browser redirecting to another website, especially if the original website you intended to browse is not known for redirecting (for example, Google’s homepage), there is a chance that you have malware on your system. The redirects are dangerous because they may be trying to trick you into visiting and clicking on fake websites that take your information or maybe the malware is using your PC remotely as part of a botnet, and the redirects are a way of “dialing back home.”
Random Shutdowns and Reboots
It’s true that a computer turning off suddenly, especially if happening in alarming frequency and at random times can be a sign of malfunctioning hardware, but sometimes this is also an indicator of a virus infection. You should start suspecting malware infestation if your computer is not old enough to suffer from hardware breakdown but old enough that you don’t really need to worry from new hardware incompatibility.
Programs Closing With No Explanation
Programs can crash sometimes due to buggy code or maybe it’s because Windows is just acting up, but if you’re seeing different programs constantly disappearing without any error or even warning, you may have something nasty infecting your PC. Viruses often do this because it might be preventing you from opening certain programs or going to certain sites, such as antiviruses or researching info about getting rid of viruses.
Unnecessary Pop Ups
Some viruses also behave by bombing you with pop up advertisements, perhaps to advertise their own antivirus. This is a common scam by virus makers – they infect PCs and then use the virus to blast you with the “fix” for their virus. If you keep getting pop ups for PC Cleaners or similar programs, your PC may be infested with malware.
If you want to avoid dealing with the aforementioned problems, you need to adjust your surfing behavior and adopt the following best practices:
- Don’t download anything from random, unknown links. No matter how tempting some offers are or how good a software claims to be, you don’t want to risk a virus infection. Do your research and try to find out if it’s a legitimate software, and try to find download links from reputable sites.
- Even if you are very conscious about the sites you visit, you should still install a trusted antivirus program in order to protect yourself from viruses that can get in on their own through exploits and OS vulnerabilities.
- Avoid pirating any kind of software or file. This is the most common way viruses get around. Don’t be tempted by the promise of getting something for free, there’s really no such thing as free lunch these days.
With the above in practice, you’ll drastically reduce the risk of ever getting your PC infected with a virus. It will be a better surfing experience from here on out.