Computer viruses are small software programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another and to interfere with computer operation.
A virus might corrupt or delete data on your computer, use your email program to spread itself to other computers, or even erase everything on your hard disk.
Computer viruses are often spread by attachments in email messages or instant messaging messages. That is why it is essential that you never open email attachments unless you know who it's from and you are expecting it.
Viruses are often disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files and can spread through downloads on the Internet. They can be hidden in illicit software or other files or programs you might download.
How do I know if my computer has been infected?
After you open and run an infected program or attachment on your computer, you may not realise that you've introduced a virus until you notice your computer behaving strangely.
Here are a few indicators that your computer might be infected:
- your computer runs more slowly than normal
- your computer stops responding or freezes often
- your computer crashes and restarts every few minutes
- your computer restarts on its own and then fails to run normally
- applications on your computer don't work correctly
- disks or disk drives are inaccessible
- you see unusual error messages
How do I prevent infection?
Some viruses can be very difficult to remove so prevention is always better than cure. The following tips will help keep your PC secure:
- install and use antivirus software
- keep your antivirus software current with the latest updates (usually called definition files) that help the tool identify and remove the latest threats
- always download and install the latest patches and service updates for Windows these updates will fix known bugs and security exploits
- Use a firewall. A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers and viruses that try to reach your computer over the Internet. Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP SP2 or higher have a firewall built-in and turned on by default
- be wary of files (including email attachments) from a source that you don’t recognise
- scan downloaded files with your anti-virus application before you run or install them
For more information please contact our IT Solutions team.