PANIC MODE: You clicked on the wrong link and your computer goes nuts. You’re attacked by pop-ups and funny noises and symbols you don’t understand. There are warnings that your hard drive is crashing and—oh my word—you can’t even CLICK on anything. Take a deep breath, though; because there ARE things you can do to regain control over the messy situation. Here are some things that will help…and a few that are big no-nos.
1. DON’T Spread the Germs
Dealing with a virus involves two processes: containing it and eliminating it. Obviously, you don’t want to spread it to anyone else; so for the time being, remember that sharing isn’t caring. Don’t send any email attachments, since the virus might hitch a ride and go infect the recipient. Also, be sure that you don’t save any files onto a CD or USB drive and then go open them on another device. If the virus caught a ride on one of those files, they’ll go to the new device you’re loading them on to and unleash their fury.
2. DO Disconnect from Your Wi-Fi
By this, we don’t mean that you need to get off the Internet. This is another thing we meant by “containing” the virus. The experts over at HuffingtonPost.com’s tech department explain that all you have to do is “turn off the network discovery function, as well as file and printer sharing.” Obviously, this doesn’t get rid of the nasty virus on your computer; but it will stop it from spreading to other computers on your network. That’s a promising step forward.
3. DON’T Get Too Personal
Until you know for a fact that the virus is 100% gone, zero personal information should be entered into your computer. This includes passwords and credit card numbers. Viruses have different ways of stealing your information, whether it bse by taking pictures of the image on your computer screen or copying your keystrokes. (How scary is that?!) With a whopping 15 million Americans affected by identity theft every year (according to IdentityTheft.info), why take the chance?
4. DO Look to the Internet for Help
If a virus attacks your computer, you’ll often be advised to restart it in safe mode. Regardless, if you’re unable to get online, grab someone else’s computer and simply do a Google search on your virus. While in a state of panic, you want to run for help; but you might be able to fix it yourself with simple step-by-step instructions. You’d be surprised how easy it is to find these. For example, if you do a search on one common virus called “file restore,” you’ll find a handful of sites that tell you exactly what to do to eliminate it—and it works.
Are you using a firewall you can trust? Are your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs updated and used regularly? Do you limit your web surfing to safe, secure websites? Do you avoid unsecured internet connections? Here are just a few suggestions for how to avoid that nasty virus in the first place. However, if you should find yourself battling a beast, remain calm, do some research, and understand what you’re up against—and how to beat it!