A computer virus works less like the flu virus and more like a cancerous tumor— the virus will replicate itself over and over in a similar process as mutated cells, spreading very quickly throughout the operating system. A virus has the potential to delete files, damage programs, or even eradicate your hard drive completely. Like cancer, it can prove irreversibly fatal to your computer.
The origin of these malicious computer viruses is usually from the downloading of an infected file. Many times the files are downloaded intentionally with the unintentional and unfortunate side effect that is the virus. The culprits that carry these viruses come in the form of pirated movies and music, free games, photos, and spam emails. Your computer can also be infected by the clicking of ads and links that redirect you to an unsecured website.
Here are a few ways to tell if your computer has been infected with a virus:
- Your computer has significantly slowed down in overall performance
- There are difficulties in restarting or shutting down
- Files have gone missing
- Frequent error messages
- Frequent system crashes
- Random applications (such as toolbars) appearing that you haven’t downloaded
- The hard drive is working hard despite doing minimal tasks
- Firewalls and antivirus programs are no longer working properly