As with any sickness, it’s better to find it early.
Realizing your computer has a virus is a very alarming experience. When something you make heavy use of every day suddenly stops working, or worse, starts actively working against you, it can feel like something integral has been taken from your life. It’s for this reason that you need to be vigilant for signs of a viral infection so you can deal with it quickly and get things back to normal. Here are a few signs to be on the lookout for.
Unexplained Slowness: If you have a lot of programs open at once, then they’re going to consume a lot of processing power and slow things down. However, if things are really slow when you don’t have anything open, that could be a sign that something is siphoning away your speed.
Pop-Ups: Random pop-ups aren’t as much of a thing as they used to be, but that only makes it more worrying when they do appear. If you don’t even have a browser open and you’re getting ads, something is shooting them at you.
Crashing: Viruses aren’t made to be considerate of your computer’s health. If your rig keeps crashing for no discernible reason, there may be something sinister in the background. Or there’s a Cheeto in the fan. Something that should be dealt with either way.
Internet Redirecting: Malware can make alterations to your browser preferences. I got a trojan once that forced my homepage and search bar to Bing for some reason. No matter what, it wouldn’t let me anywhere near Google. Bizarre, but still problematic.
Disabled Security and Programs: Once a virus worms its way in, it’ll do whatever it can to widen the hole and keep it open. Viruses may disable your security software and restrict access to certain programs. I got a virus once that pretended to be a security program, and it wouldn’t let me open anything else. I couldn’t even press ctrl+alt+delete!
Strange Messages: If you start receiving messages or notifications from a program you don’t recognize, it’s probably not an accident. The only thing even more worrying than that is when your friends and family receive message that claim to be from you.