When many people think of computer viruses, they still have an outdated image of something which only causes obscene pop ups to appear on your screen, or slow your machine down. Yet with the amount of sensitive data that is now buried within our computers, particularly financial information, cybercriminals have plenty of reason to develop more malicious viruses that can do some serious damage. Hackers are always looking at new ways to scam people out of their money, so it’s vital that you always ensure you have up to date antivirus software, and get your computer checked out if you feel that there might be a problem with it.
One of the more alarming developments in computer viruses over the past few years has been so-called “ransomware”. Essentially, this is where a cybercriminal infects your computer with a virus which then allows them to lock you out of your own device. They will then email you demanding payment- often in the form of untraceable Bitcoins- in order to give you your PC back. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be done when this happens, even by the authorities, so it’s essential that you ensure you are always well protected, so that you aren’t left the victim of a ransomware attack.
You can also protect yourself from viruses by using simple common sense. Often, music downloads will be used as a way to spread viruses, so you should always use caution when doing so, and only download from sites that you know for a fact are trustworthy. Other sites might use tempting headlines in order to lure people in, or send out emails with a subject that makes you want to click to read more. If something doesn’t feel right to you, then it’s best to just ignore it completely.
If your computer does become infected with a virus, then what it is doesn’t matter as much as getting rid of it immediately. Often, antivirus software will be able to do the job for you, either quarantining infected files, or completely deleting them to prevent the virus spreading further. However, there might be some situations when the virus simply proves too much for your antivirus software. In these cases, be sure to take your computer to a professional, who will then be able to give you your device back safe and sound, without any lasting damage.