fbpx
Contact Us

Infected With a Computer Virus? Here Are Step-by-Step Instructions

Go Back

We need to accept that no matter how good our anti-virus software is, some attacks will occasionally get through and therefore we need something to detect these threats and remove them quickly! The longer they sit on your computer the greater the risk of losing money or falling victim to identity theft is. They also open up the door for other malicious threats to get into our devices.

Viruses are pretty common and you’re in good hands so there’s no need to fret!

What Are The Typical Symptoms To Look Out For?

  • Very slow performance, taking ages to open and close applications.
  • Slow start-up and shut-down.
  • Crashing, e.g. blue screen of death.
  • Missing or additional files / programs / toolbars.
  • Unusual error messages / pop-ups.
  • Anti-virus program turns off or disappears and it won’t turn back on.
  • Unable to access anti-virus websites or redirected to strange websites when browsing online.

What Steps Should I Take To Remove The Infection? (and prevent it happening again)

1. Containment

Disconnect the infected device from everything (all networks, WiFi, etc.). Assume anything connected to the affected device is also compromised and perform the steps below to those devices too. Remove CDs and DVDs and unplug USB drives. This should help prevent it spreading. But do not turn your computer off! Some malware take a tighter grip of your machine once rebooted.

2. Download a Decent Malware Scanner

If you have a second device, use this download a decent ‘on-demand’ scanner (either Bitdefender or Malwarebytes as they are both free and tend to catch everything) onto a USB drive. Load the anti- virus scanner onto the infected device from the USB. If you don’t have a second device to do this with, use the infected machine to download the scanner directly. Not ideal but you should be OK. If even this fails (unlikely), reboot your infected machine and enter safe mode as this can help stop the malware loading.

3. Run a Scan

Choose the most comprehensive scan possible. It should detect and remove anything malicious that is found. If viruses are found, reboot and have a play around to see if all is back to normal.

4. Re-Scan with Another Scanner

It’s best to validate the “all-clear” with a different Anti-Virus (AV) as some scanners pick up different malware than others. I’d recommend finishing with either; Kaspersky TDSSKiller or HitmanPro. Some clever malware strains will automatically kill any attempt to download or run an anti-virus program so if you see the program quitting halfway through a scan and not reopening, this could be why. If this happens, choose a custom scan and manually scan individual folders at a time (doing your PC in bite size chunks). These will complete much quicker before the malware has chance to close the scan down.

5. Anti-Virus Rescue Disk

If all else fails, use another computer to create something called an ‘anti-virus rescue disk’. This is a disc you burn from a healthy computer and it’ll help do a deep clean of your infected PC without even loading the operating system. Simply google for your respective operating system for a step-by-step guide.

6. Fix Lingering Issues

Some malware will leave lingering issues, such as not being able to connect to WiFi or your desktop background being changed. Use either Microsoft’s ‘Fix It’ tool or a tool called ‘Re- Enable II’ to get things back to normal.

7. Update Software & OS

Check your browser, apps and operating system for software updates and update them all. This will likely patch the original software vulnerability that was used to gain access in the first place.

8. Clean-up

Get rid of the apps you have that you never use. Every one most likely has vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Use a tool like ‘CCleaner’ to remove all the gunk your machine accumulates over time.

9. Scan System Restore Points / Time Machines

Many viruses actively seek out to embed themselves into these automatic backups so even if we get rid of them once, they can come back to haunt us! Scan these back-ups to prevent any recurrence.

10. Reset Passwords

Go to haveibeenpwned.com to see if your password credentials have been leaked online. Most malware is designed to steal your credentials. If they have, reset all your passphrases associated with that email address.

11. Automatic Back-ups

When you’re sure all the malware is gone (wait a day or two) setup automatic back-ups (see Basic Protection Plan for more details), so that next time you can simply restore from your back-up the day before.

By now you should be well on your way back to having a healthy device! Checkout the Protection Plans here to put protection in place for you and your kids to ensure you don’t get infected again.

Equally, if you haven’t been able to resolve your issue, head over to our SOS Centre here where you can get additional support with video tutorials and an online discussion forum to find out what’s wrong and how to fix it!

 

Jonny

Founder of www.SimpleCyberLife.com. Cyber security expert, public speaker and entrepreneur.

www.jonnypelter.com

jonny@simplecyberlife.com

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hacked Social Media Recovery Handbook!

Pop your email into the form below and we'll send you the link to your free handbook!

We hate spam and won't send you mindless marketing emails. We share some internet safety tips. You of course can unsubscribe at any time.

Free Protection Checklist!

Pop your email into the form below and we'll send you the link to your internet safety protection checklists!

We hate spam and won't send you mindless marketing emails. We share internet safety tips. You of course can unsubscribe at any time.

Free Cyber Bullying Handbook!

Pop your email into the form below and we'll send you the link to your free handbook!

We hate spam and won't send you mindless marketing emails. We share some internet safety tips occasionally. You of course can unsubscribe at any time.

Free I've Been Hacked Handbook!

Pop your email into the form below and we'll send you the link to your free handbook!

We hate spam and won't send you mindless marketing emails. We share internet safety tips. You of course can unsubscribe at any time.

Top