Security: Computer Viruses Part II

This is the second and concluding part of my earlier post - "Security: Computer Viruses Part I", wherein I had discussed about the various types of computer viruses that are moving around just waiting for an opportunity to get into and infect your computer. For those who missed the first part, they can find it here.

In this post, I will be discussing some of the symptoms that will help you identify whether your are actually bugged and also what steps to take after the infection has been done.

Let me start with this - How would you come to know that you have been infected by a virus (biologically, I mean)? Obviously you would say there are always certain symptoms that will surface up and it will be only then that I would need to consult a doctor. The doctor will recommend some tests to perform and these will help the doctor in finding out what Virus I have been affected with and what should be the medicines that will help me get rid of the Virus Infection.

In the world of computers too, this is what the approach is. You have to look out for certain symptoms which will give you a hint that your computer has been bugged. Once you are sure of, you will need the services of a doctor (which again is a computer program)  that will help you out in tracing the exact virus. Once you know what the Virus is you can take an appropriate step to get rid of the virus.

Well, after using computers for about over 16 years, I have realized that finding out whether your system has been bugged or not is not that easy. However, there are some common traits that become eventually visible after infection –
  1. The computer runs slower than usual.
  2. The computer stops responding, or it locks up frequently.
  3. The computer crashes, and then it restarts every few minutes.
  4. The computer restarts on its own. Additionally, the computer does not run as usual.
  5. Applications on the computer do not work correctly.
  6. Disks or disk drives are inaccessible.
  7. You cannot print items correctly.
  8. You see unusual error messages.
  9. You see distorted menus and dialog boxes.
  10. There is a double extension on an attachment that you recently opened, such as a .jpg, .vbs, .gif, or .exe. extension.
  11. An antivirus program is disabled for no reason. Additionally, the antivirus program cannot be restarted.
  12. An antivirus program cannot be installed on the computer, or the antivirus program will not run.
  13. New icons appear on the desktop that you did not put there, or the icons are not associated with any recently installed programs.
  14. Strange sounds or music plays from the speakers unexpectedly.
  15. A program disappears from the computer even though you did not intentionally remove the program.
These are a few of the common symptoms that will indicate that your computer is bugged.

Oh no, My Computer is been Infected…. How Do I Cure my Computer?
Once you are sure that your computer has been bugged, you will need a doctor for finding out and curing the virus. The doctor for a computer virus is a software program called Anti-Virus Software. There a many brands available in the market.
Some of the anti virus programs
  1. Bit-Defender
  2. Kaspersky
  3. Webroot
  4. Norton
  5. AVG
  6. F-Secure
How Do I Select An Anti Virus?
The Anti Virus programs available in the market must be capable of being good doctors. In the sense they must be able to perform the following basic tasks -
  1. Help you in correctly Identifying the Virus
  2. Curing or getting rid of the Virus
  3. Have an online update feature with them so that they are always up-to-date with the latest virus programs that get written and also be able to cure them.
  4. Provide support and protection when you are online and connected to the Internet
  5. Read reviews at technical / review websites
  6. Consult your friends, colleagues and others if you are unsure.
Where do I get the Anti-Virus?
In the current scenario where software Piracy is on the rise, I would recommend you to go for a genuine copy for your anti virus software. This is because of the reason that it is your computer and your precious work is at stake. So do not compromise, even if you can get a copy for free or otherwise. In case your copy is genuine, you will benefit from the regular updates that will be launched by the vendor. You will also feel safe and secure. Keep in mind that the amount of investment that you are going to make is for one year and during this you are entitled to get all the new updates, new definitions and many a times some free upgrades.

Some Preventive Measures
Lastly, as they say, Prevention is better than cure, I would recommend youto do at least the following to keep yourself safe while using your computer -
  1. Enable the Email Scanning setting of your Antivirus. This will help your computer stay clean from getting infected via the emails.
  2. Scan all the external devices, like USB Drives, Floppies (does anyone use them anymore?) that you attach to your computer. Make it a regular habit or better, if your anti-virus program supports this, configure it to auto protect you.
  3. Stay away from porn websites, online gaming sites. These sites are the potential threats of getting infected via the internet. So it is better to stay away from them. I know many of you would be wondering Oh My God I have been playing online games...? Its alright, what I am trying to convey is just keep yourself protected. Have an antivirus that will provide you with protection.
  4. Keep a regular backup of all the work that you do on the computer. This is beneficial in case the worst happens and you lose all your data. I keep a monthly backup.
  5. Run a full computer scan at least once per Week. This is to keep your system clean from infections.
  6. If your Anti-Virus supports - Set the Update feature to at least daily. This keeps your Antivirus up-to-date.
Sources:Microsoft, TopTenReviews, PCAntiVirusReviews

Hope that this post was useful to you. I welcome your feedback and suggestions as always.

The first part of this article is here - Security: Computer Viruses Part I



James Madison said...

Hi, I had also visited your Part-I and this one and both of your articles are really interesting.

Brayden Alexander said...

I agree but this article not contain details about free antivirus programs , some people can't afford to buy a licensed antivirus application , I recommend to add more free antivirus information , there are allot of free antivirus websites that can offer good and quality antivirus programs, don't let your computer unprotected.

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