Although the terms malware and virus are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. While malware, short for malicious software, can refer to many different types of harmful types of software, computer viruses are a specific kind of malware. Computer viruses are similar to viruses that spread among people and animals in that both require a host to attach themselves to. Whereas a flu virus can infect a person, a computer virus attaches itself to a file or an executable program by injecting malicious code into its host.
A computer virus may find its way into your device via an infected attachment file from an email or a free program downloaded from the internet. For example, phishing emails are one of the online criminals’ go‑to methods of spreading computer viruses. Some malware can even hijack their victim’s email account to spread viruses even further. That’s why you should always be wary when downloading email attachment files, even if they seem to come from a reliable sender. Consider running a virus scan and keeping your antivirus up to date at all times to avoid virus infections from happening.
Computer virus removal is not easy without a thorough virus scan using an advanced antivirus program. Here’s how to get rid of a computer virus using antivirus software on your computer.
If your device is not already equipped with antivirus software, look for a reliable one that is compatible with your operating system. F‑Secure Total comes with an antivirus that can be used both on your desktop computer and mobile devices.
Just like all other applications, antivirus software should operate on the most recent version so that you are protected against malware as well as possible. By installing the most recent version for all programs you can make sure that all vulnerabilities and bugs have been removed. A quality antivirus keeps itself updated automatically. Because of this, the user does not have to update the antivirus themselves or use an outdated version of the software.
Depending on the antivirus software you are using, there may be an option to run a quick check or a more thorough virus scan on the whole device. Although a full virus scan will take longer, it will reveal malware hiding deep in your computer that a quicker check might miss.
The antivirus does not necessarily remove the detected malware automatically. Instead, it contains the threat and lets you choose what to do next. Clearly dangerous and virus-infected files should be removed immediately. Otherwise, you can also quarantine infected files from causing additional harm and spreading further.
Sometimes the antivirus may mistake safe files for malware. In this case, you can skip these and remove only the ones that pose a threat to your cyber security. However, make sure to do this only if you are sure that the files are in fact safe and you know what you are doing. It is always better to be safe than sorry and not ignore the antivirus software’s warnings.
Depending on the situation, you may have to restart your computer to finish the virus scan. After that, assess if you need to do anything else to improve your defenses. For example, are your passwords secure enough and unique on all accounts? If not, consider creating strong passwords and do not reuse them. As viruses can often corrupt files, or destroy them altogether, restore these from a backup, in case you have made one. Even if you were lucky and did not lose any valuable files, create a backup, preferably on an external hard drive or in a cloud.
Often the victim of a computer virus infection may not even notice the presence of a virus at first. Most viruses are difficult to detect — without an antivirus. However, there are some signs that may indicate a virus has infected your device. Some of these are normal symptoms of the computer getting old and outdated. Still, you should run a virus scan with a reliable antivirus program to make sure there are no nasty surprises lurking inside your computer.
Consider running a virus scan whenever you notice any of the following signs of a computer virus infection. It is also a good idea to scan your device for viruses every now and then even if everything seems fine.
An antivirus program is an invaluable tool whenever you notice any of these common signs of a computer virus. As many computer viruses can be impossible to spot without a thorough scan, you should not rely only on your own instincts. If you ignore the signs that something strange might be going on in your computer or think that antivirus does not help, you could end up losing money, login credentials and personal information to online criminals. That is why prevention against viruses and other online threats with antivirus is an essential component of your personal cyber security.
Both your computer and mobile devices need malware protection. Detect and remove viruses with F‑Secure Total’s antivirus. To make using the internet even safer, Total is equipped with a VPN that makes private browsing easy. Strong passwords are an essential part of everyone’s online security and Total’s password manager makes using them as easy as possible. With Total’s versatile identity protection tools, your personal cyber security is complete. Try F‑Secure Total for free.