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What to do if you have a virus

You’ve used our tips (click here to read them) to identify if your computer could be infected with a piece of malware, so now what? What do you do if you think you have a computer virus?

Don’t over-react!

The first step in successfully removing an infection is not to over-react. For example, it was recently revealed that a US government agency destroyed over $170,000 of computer equipment in response to an over-stated virus risk. The overzealous agency even destroyed mice and keyboards in an attempt to clear itself of the infection. Don’t do that.

In fact, here’s a quick tip: if you’ve bought a branded mouse and keyboard from a reputable company, there’s almost no possible way it could contain a virus. And your computer definitely couldn’t infect it.

If you have a virus, please don’t smash up your PC peripherals, including your monitor, printer, digital camera or TV. The only item that would make any sense to destroy would be a USB stick, but even that would be a gross over-reaction. You won’t need a new computer either, just a good anti-virus software (like Norman’s).

But don’t under-react, either

While you shouldn’t go around smashing systems, it’s also important to act promptly to remove malware, rather than hesitate.

Leaving an infected computer without treatment can increase the harm the virus does to your PC, it increases the chance the malware will spread to other victims and in some cases, allows it to steal more of your data.

If you think you have an infection, it’s vital to download anti-virus software as soon as possible. This is because it’s very difficult to manually delete viruses once they have started running on your computer. They’re expert hiders and tend to disguise themselves in important files. Like going to a doctor, a professional anti-virus tool (like Norman) is your best bet to cure the infection.

Supercharge your anti-virus

By using the tips outlined in the supercharge your anti-virus article, you can help your anti-virus become more efficient at beating malware. The process involves booting into your computer’s Safe Mode, which may look like a daunting task, but is actually relatively easy.

Now backup!

After your anti-virus has cleared your computer of infections, it’s time to backup your computer. You can either use external storage or an online backup solution like Norman’s (we can safely store your data). Doing either of these will mean that your documents, pictures and videos will all be safe even if you’re infected with a malicious virus that decides to wipe your hard drive.

Think about how you were infected

After you’ve taken care of all of the serious issues above, it’s a good time to think about how you got infected in the first place.

Did you go to a website that could be quite insecure? Did you recently download an email attachment that you shouldn’t have? Think back over your computing habits and try to avoid any high-risk behaviours for next time.

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