Hopefully you have antivirus or antimalware software installed on your computer. Even if you think you are protected, there is still a chance your computer is vulnerable to viruses or malware. There are a few warning signs to look for that will let you know if your computer is infected.
Check the Task Manager
The Task Manager can tell you a lot about what programs are running on your computer. If it is acting up, push Ctrl+Alt+Del to bring up the Task Manager. Look to see what programs are running. If there are some you do not recognize or have not opened, then chances are a virus is messing with your computer.
Can't Access Your Computer
A popup window may appear while you are browsing the web that says you are locked out of your computer. It may claim they are a blackmailer or even law enforcement, which is untrue. This is a virus that is trying to get you to pay money to make it go away, which is why it is called Ransomware. The best way to protect yourself against this type of virus is have antivirus software installed ahead of time.
Are people contacting you saying that you sent them messages? If you did not send them, most likely a virus did. The virus can affect your email account, Facebook, Twitter, or any other account that messages are sent from. The reason the virus does this is because it is trying to infect as many people as possible.
The very first thing you should do is change all of your passwords. If it is a spambot that hacked your account, they will not be able to get in. If it was a person and they changed your password, access your security questions and email address to change your password to something more difficult to crack.
One of the biggest symptoms of a virus is your computer running slow and not performing correctly. There is a chance the computer needs to be defragmented, so check the last time that was done. If that is not the issue, chances are you have a virus.
Removing a Virus
The easiest way to remove a virus is install antivirus and antimalware software on your computer. Most of the time, this can be done while your computer is infected with the virus. Some viruses need to be removed manually, which involves finding the name of the virus by running the antivirus program. Once you figure out the name, identify it and remove it from your computer. This should only be done if you know how to view and deleted program files in your computer.
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