Computer Virus Security
Virus as a threat to your PC security
Viruses are human-made malicious programs that infect your PC by disguising as beneficial software or they install without your knowledge. While some viruses are harmless, other can be havoc to your PC and may remain dormant until a certain date. They are installed alongside other downloaded files like e-mail attachments, files sent to you through instant message sessions or through online games. Alternatively, they can be installed if you click a link from a website that has been infected. Some virus programs proliferate themselves by taking advantage of security lapses in firewalls. These programs start on one computer, then replicate quickly and infect other computers around the world. Unless you exercise great caution or routinely run antivirus software, your computer will almost certainly become infected.
The following discussion will further evaluate the security threat caused by a computer virus and outlines the benefits of regularly upgrading your antivirus software:
- Computer virus symptoms
- Extent of damages
- Benefits of updating virus definitions
Computer virus symptoms
If you suspect your computer has a virus, then it is important to find out if you actually have one. Look for any obvious changes to your desktop like movement of your desktop icons or any addition to your desktop. If your computer acts differently, then it is always advisable to disconnect your system from the Internet. Also, check the speed of your PC as this is one of the key ways to known virus infection in your PC. Again, if you get error messages that prompt you to restart your PC or attempts to close your active program then you need to be beware of such errors. Further, check the noise of the hard drive in your PC when your computer is idle. Most of the time when you are not using your computer it should not be making any noise.
Extent of damages
Virus infection can display your PC directory as garbage, disable ports like LPT or COM ports, increase file size and disk access time, extend boot time, display pictures randomly, and alter the system date and time. An infected PC also makes strange noises, cause keyboard keys to be remapped, modify directory order, randomly overwrites sectors on the hard disk, and can cause hardware problems like non-functioning keyboard keys, printer and modem issues, etc.
Benefits of updating virus definitions
Installing antivirus software in your PC is essentially the first step in protecting your computer. It also needs regular tracking and updating of the latest virus definitions so as to rule out any threat. Most antivirus software vendors, such as Symantec, McAfee and AVG roll out definition updates quite frequently. So, it is advisable to update antivirus software to maintain the health of your PC. Better still, you should configure your antivirus software to automatically download updates.
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