As technology has advanced over the years, so have cyber criminals and their attack methods. Cyber criminals continue to expand on new ways to compromise devices with cyber attacks such as viruses. It’s important to be aware of viruses and know how to protect your devices against them.
What is a virus?
A virus is a type of malware used by cyber criminals to get in to your device to infect or damage your system. Viruses can spread from one device to another to steal, damage or delete any data and software it accesses. Viruses attach to programs on your device to make copies of themselves. They spread when the infected program runs on your system. Cyber criminals use viruses to slow down your systems and monitor your device activity without you knowing. It can be difficult to spot a virus on your device since they stay inactive until the infected program is opened.
How to spot a virus
It may be tough, but there are signs to recognize that your device is infected, such as:
- Slow computer performance
- Application or system crashes
- System freezes
- Unsolicited pop ups
- Missing or corrupt files
- Trouble restarting your computer
- Malfunctioning anti-virus software
- Unrecognized programs downloaded on your device
How to protect yourself from viruses
Cyber criminals are always finding new ways to compromise technology, so it’s important to apply the best cyber security measures to protect your devices.
- Enable anti-virus software to detect, identify and remove malware and suspicious files
- Update your devices and software frequently and enable automatic updates, if available
- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your devices and accounts to add an extra layer of authentication
- Use an ad-blocker on browsers to reduce the risks of pop-up advertisements that could include malware
- Be aware of the signs of phishing to reduce the risks of downloading viruses through malicious attachments and links
Since a virus is inactive until the program it’s attached to is opened, it’s easy to unintentionally infect others you may be connecting with (like when you’re sending files to friends). By taking these cyber security steps, you can help protect your systems and the devices of friends and family from viruses.
How to remove a virus
If you notice your device is showing signs of being infected by a virus, it is important to take steps to remove any malicious activity from spreading.
- Disconnect the infected device from the network
- Turn off Wi-Fi and unplug the cables that connect your devices to networks (e.g. Ethernet)
- Run your anti-virus software to clean the device and trace any further spread or the virus
- Wipe or factory reset the device if it is still showing signs of infection
- Run your anti-virus software on your latest backup version
- Restore the device with the latest clean backup
It is important to continue monitoring the previously infected device along with any connected devices for any further signs of viruses or other malware. Continue frequent anti-virus scans to ensure no signs of the virus is lingering or spreading.
While cyber criminals continue to get crafty with their cyber attack tactics, there are simple steps you can take to enhance your cyber security and get cyber safe. Stay aware and protect yourself from cyber threats like viruses to keep your systems, information and connections safe.