Laptop viruses are pretty similar to viruses in real life. Without the proper precautions, these digital viruses are highly contagious, spreading like wildfire through your files and contacts. Some viruses even work by creating thousands of copies of themselves to ensure you can’t get rid of the infection. Viruses put your information at risk, making it essential to address the problem at the first sign of infection.
Most people get laptop viruses from downloading and opening unknown files on their devices. This scenario often happens when you download programs from untrustworthy sites. “Free” games and movies are popular culprits that lure people into downloading risky programs on their computers. Viruses can also infect your laptop through interacting with suspicious emails.
You can take proactive measures to safeguard laptops from viruses. Your first step of action is to identify whether a virus already exists on your device. Here are eight common signs your laptop has a virus:
1. Your home page randomly changed
Opening your preferred internet browser and seeing a website you’ve never seen before is a classic sign of having a virus. Usually, hackers try to lead you to a site that appears trustworthy, which they can use to steal your information. Sometimes, they create an authentic-looking website that resembles your banking institution to record and steal your information.
With browsers now supporting add-ons, hackers can also install malicious extensions that interfere with your browsing experience. If you suspect your laptop has a virus, check your browser settings and ensure you don’t have any unknown add-ons installed.
2. You get scary warnings on your desktop
If you’re getting weird warnings and threats on your laptop, there’s a good chance you have a virus. Hackers can get one of the programs on your laptop to send you messages that appear legitimate. Yet, the intent is to scare you into giving your information or money.
Many hackers also create fake anti-virus programs that cause these warnings to pop up on your desktop randomly. You can identify the scam by checking if the warning message asks you for money. Usually, they will claim if you send a certain amount, your cooperation will stop the threats. No legitimate company operates this way and making a payment will not solve the problem.
Fortunately, there are protection measures you can take. For instance, ASUS AiProtection is an excellent solution to safeguard your routers. Its network security features include detecting infected devices, protection from cyber attacks, and blocking access to malicious websites. AiProtection also offers a robust firewall system, ensuring the incoming data to your laptop comes from trusted sources.
3. Clicking on your desktop opens ads
If you can’t click anywhere on your laptop without being directed to a website, you have a virus. Always keep in mind that giving your information or making a payment will not help solve the problem. Running a trusted anti-virus program should get rid of these programs most of the time. If the scan doesn’t find the issue, try running the anti-virus in safe mode.
If the laptop virus persists, you may have to invest in ransomware protection software. It is specifically designed to stop hackers who hold your files and laptop hostage. Always check your recently downloaded programs, files, or add-ons to look for potential sources of malware.
4. You can’t execute a normal search
As previously mentioned, hackers create malicious websites that appear legitimate to try and steal your information. If you execute a regular Google search, but another window opens up, there’s a good chance your laptop has a virus infection.
Hackers will always try to redirect you away from your trusted browsers and websites. Instead, you will encounter various clones with the intent of scamming people. If you notice new windows opening after using your browser, run a virus scan and remember not to enter any personal information. Hackers may personalize some of the pop-up windows with your name. Keep in mind this is an attempt to gain your trust.
5. Your laptop is slow
A slow laptop is often the first sign of a virus. If you notice that regularly used programs are unstable or crash frequently, it’s worth running a virus scan. Sluggish laptops may have their resources dominated by spyware programs operating in the background.
If your laptop is going slow, avoid stressing it by opening multiple programs at the same time. Instead, run a virus scan normally and in safe mode to catch potential viruses. You may have to do a system restore to get your device back to a point before it was infected.
6. You start seeing mysterious files
Mysterious files showing up out of nowhere is another sign your laptop is infected. If you notice many text files or images with weird names, a virus might be working in the background to harm your laptop. Spyware programs may be using your laptop to send and receive information without your permission or knowledge.
If you notice you’re slowly losing storage space without downloading anything, there’s might be some unknown background activity going on. Laptops like the ASUS ExpertBook P3540 feature a TPM 2.0 security chip dedicated to protecting essential data on your device.
7. You can’t exit out of a blue screen
The infamous blue screen of death puts fear into the hearts of even the most experienced computer nerds. This blue screen pops up after your laptop crashes and prevents you from doing anything. If you leave your laptop alone, it should eventually restart, or you can use the power button to turn off your machine.
Once you can access your desktop, go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> Administrative Tools -> Event Viewer and choose Windows Logs. On this screen, look for the logs marked with “error” to see what caused the most recent blue screen to occur. It’s always a good idea to run a virus scan after restarting your laptop from a blue screen of death.
8. Your contacts get spam emails from you
If your friends and family are asking you to stop sending them weird emails, there’s a good chance your laptop is infected. Different spyware programs attack your email to try and steal information from people in your contact list. Since the email goes out under your name, the recipients are more likely to trust the email’s contents.
Make sure you let people know not to open or click on anything in the email. If you notice this happening, immediately change your email password and run a virus scan.