My computer was infected by viruses the other day. This is my fourth time. After the first time I took precautions and thought it will never happen to me again. And then it did happen again. I added more security but I did not change my computer and when I did I forgot about the virus security. I only realised one day that my new computer was infected, AGAIN. Why me, I thought. What this showed me is that no matter how strong my security can be, if I slip up and forget to lock the door i.e. don’t update my antivirus software, my computer will get infected. They say once beaten twice shy however in the case of viruses, computer or biological, it’s “x” to the power of (n) shy. You will be beaten over and over and over and over again… you get it right? Right.
While the world panics around corona (COVID-19), the world forget about the sinister underground world of hacking and information hijacking. Computer viruses are as old as the computers themselves and while biological viruses are quickly attended to, the world quickly declares the national disaster, your computer virus is your own problem. Yet these viruses have the potential to wreak as much have and their biological counterparts.
So, what happened to my computer when it was infected by this virus. My computer started slowing down almost to a halt. I keep an eye of my computer resources so I could quickly check them. Then things heated up and I saw that my computer’s hard disk space was being reduced, as if an installation was happening right before my eyes. My internet modem was very active for no device surfing the net. It was as if I was downloading a very big file. My hard disk space reduced by 15gb in two hours.
I tried a few things just to be sure
- I disconnected my laptop from my Wi-Fi and the modem calmed down,
- my disk space stopped reducing space,
- I left them for 30 minutes to makes sure,
- I restarted my laptop after 30 minutes, reactivated wi-fi back on and watched as the process continued.
I knew this was a virus infection. Unfortunately even without the internet you never really know what the virus is doing in the background so the only alternative is a vaccine or in this case an antivirus software.
How does this happen, how does a computer virus attack your computer? Unlike biological viruses you computer cannot be infected by touch or sneezing or coughing. You physically have to install it, sometime without even know that you are. How you would you not know, ask? We love free stuff, we click on links that promises us free games or free software. We open email links from unknown sources. This is the cough or physical contact that the virus needs to infect your computer.
My virus software shows that there are an estimated 14,441,873 Total Virus Signatures in the world, that’s 14 million signatures that you have to protect your computer against. These viruses ranges from the simplest one that just slows you computer down to the ones that takes over the world by hijacking information for a fee, called ransomware. Some companies have lost information and had close their doors due to some of these viruses.
You are probably thinking, you don’t have much that hackers may want to steal from you right? WRONG. Think about it for a minute and you’ll see how wrong you really are, for example:
1) You identity could be used to create credit card debts or take over your life i.e identity theft,
2) Your picture or that of your family, with photoshop can be placed on anyones body and put on the internet,
3) Your bank account can be drained of all your money in a matter of minutes, maybe even seconds,
4) The passwords you use can be stolen and used for criminal purposes.
The list goes on. Now all of this happens in seconds or minutes but to undo them takes forever plus one month. So how do we protect ourselves from this. It’s not easy or fullproof. With biological viruses, a visit to your doctor who then prescribes antibiotics, exercise, sleep, fluids, etc and you get better at least until next time. The course of action is almost similar for computer viruses, except you’re the doctor who needs to research reputable software companies to help you combat the virus, at a fee. You paid the doctor, so why not the antivirus company. Is it worth the investment? Yes and no.
Technology imitates life or visa versa
Yes, in that it creates a feeling of your computer being secure by doing this and to an extend it is protected as long as you update your software and pay your subscription. This is going to become even more vital as we all migrate to the cloud. No, in that if you kept up your end of the deal i.e. your software is up to date and your subscription paid up and you still get hacked or your computer is infected with a virus, you have no recourse from the antivirus company in the same way as you have no recourse against a doctor if the medication he prescribed does not offers relief.
So what did I do differently this time around. Nothing really. I found and ran some of the free antivirus tools which found nothing. I also ran the premium software at a basic scan and it also found nothing. I then ran a full scan, overnight because it takes very long and slows down your computer a bit. It found and cleaned 19 viruses. I ran the full scan for the second time just to make sure. Did it work, I don’t know. Only time will tell.
Most people would probably have started looking at buying a new computer because this. As I just showed you, it is not slow, it was just sick. The cost of buying a new computer in comparison to the work I did is ten times less. Yes it took some time to assess and restore it to the usable state but I can probably still use it for and few more years, by only updating my software.
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