A computer virus is a program that can replicate itself and load itself onto your computer without your knowledge. Viruses attach themselves to programs and files in order to spread from one computer to another. Even a simple virus is dangerous because it can quickly use up the computer's memory, causing the computer to stop functioning.
Symptoms - Often, the anti-virus software on your computer will notify you if it detects a virus or suspicious file, and will give you the option to delete or clean it. As different viruses have different effects on your computer, the keen user is often the next best method of detection. Become suspicious if your computer starts functioning in an unusual or atypical manner.
I Have a Virus. What Should I Do?
- Immediately turn off your computer.
- Unplug your computer's network cable (the cable that looks similar to a telephone cord).
- Contact the ITS Help Desk at (850) 474-2075.
- Change your Argonet password from another computer or web-enabled device.
- Disconnect the computer from your home network (wired and wireless).
- Perform an on-demand scan of your whole computer with your anti-spyware software. Consult your software vendor’s website for instructions.
- You may want to search the web for specific instructions for removing the virus by entering the symptoms of the virus into a search engine. If you disconnected your computer from the Internet or are unable to access the Internet, you may need to perform this search from another computer or web-enabled device.
- If these self-help tips are unable to remedy the virus, it may be beneficial to consult a third party support provider for additional assistance.
- Change your passwords.
Tips to Avoiding Viruses
Regularly use anti-virus software to scan your computer for viruses.
Email is the most common way to get a computer virus. Do not click links or open attachments from an unknown sender.
Beware of email messages that appear to be from people you know. Sometimes viruses can generate emails that appear to be from a friend, but they really contain the virus.
Do not click on links or buttons in pop-up advertisement windows.
Beware of files sent via instant message. Even if you receive a file from someone you trust, do not open it without asking the person if they meant to send you the file.
Only download from reputable websites.
Be careful surfing the web. Simply by visiting a website, you can get a virus; so stick to trusted sites whenever possible.
Install operating system updates regularly on your computer to patch security vulnerabilities.
Check the version of Java installed on your machine or remove it completely if you do not use it.
Backup important files and documents regularly to an external device or via a cloud based backup service.