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What happens if I get infected is a question you hear a lot these days…although in this case I am not taking about the COVID-19. I am talking about a computer virus.

• How does a computer virus attack?
• How does a computer virus spread?
• How do I know if I have a virus?
• What should I do if I think I am infected?

This article will address these questions. We will start at the beginning and define a computer virus…

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a computer virus is: “a piece of code which is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data.”

How Does a Computer Virus Attack?

According to Norton Antivirus’ Website:
“Once a virus has successfully attached to a program, file, or document, the virus will lie dormant until circumstances cause the computer or device to execute its code. In order for a virus

to infect your computer, you have to run the infected program, which in turn causes the virus code to be executed.

This means that a virus can remain dormant on your computer, without showing major signs or symptoms. However, once the virus infects your computer, the virus can infect other computers on the same network. Stealing passwords or data, logging keystrokes, corrupting files, spamming your email contacts, and even taking over your machine are just some of the devastating and irritating things a virus can do.

While some viruses can be playful in intent and effect, others can have profound and damaging effects. This includes erasing data or causing permanent damage to your hard disk. Worse yet, some viruses are designed with financial gains in mind.”

How Does a Computer Virus Spread?

Norton’s Antivirus’ Website goes on to describe the following:
“In a constantly connected world, you can contract a computer virus in many ways, some more obvious than others. Viruses can be spread through email and text message attachments, Internet file downloads, and social media scam links. Your mobile devices and smart phones can become infected with mobile viruses through shady app downloads. Viruses can hide disguised as attachments of socially shareable content such as funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files.

To avoid contact with a virus, it’s important to exercise caution when surfing the web, downloading files, and opening links or attachments. To help stay safe, never download text or email attachments that you’re not expecting, or files from websites you don’t trust.”

How Do I Know if I Have a Virus?

Norton’s website continues with a list of indications that you may have a virus on your computer. Read this list carefully to see if you could possibly have a virus infection on your computer.

• Frequent pop-up windows. Pop-ups might encourage you to visit unusual sites. Or, they might prod you to download(malicious)…software programs.

• Changes to your homepage. Your usual homepage may change to another website, for instance. Plus, you may be unable to reset it.

• Mass emails being sent from your email account. A criminal may take control of your account or send emails in your name from another infected computer.

• Frequent crashes. A virus can inflict major damage on your hard drive. This may cause your device to freeze or crash. It may also prevent your device from coming back on.

• Unusually slow computer performance. A sudden change of processing speed could signal that your computer has a virus.

• Unknown programs that start up when you turn on your computer. You may become aware of the unfamiliar program when you start your computer. Or you might notice it by checking your computer’s list of active applications.

• Unusual activities like password changes. This could prevent you from logging into your computer.

What Should I do if I Think I Have a Virus?

If you think you have a virus infection in your computer – the best thing to do is to bring your computer in to Computer Dynamics for service right away! You don’t want to leave a virus untreated in your computer as it will continue wreaking havoc and giving you issues.

We are located on Division Street in Saint Cloud, MN right behind the Red Lobster restaurant. We are open from Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm, and Saturday from 10am-4pm. Mark and Katie are ready to assist you so please call us at 320-654-9703 with any questions!


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