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How to Detect a Virus on a Personal Computer

Computer viruses can be impossible to spot and your biggest nuisance while surfing the web. Don’t let your PC fall victim to hacker attacks

A virus is a computer user’s worst nightmare, and unfortunately, as time passes, viruses get trickier to detect. It’s hard to keep up to date with all the forms a virus can take — worms, trojans, spyware and adware alone are tough enough to repel, let alone the myriad of other malicious software types we’re not yet aware of. All of these types of malware act in different ways, so we’ve gathered some of the telltale signs that your computer is infected.

Ghost Messages

Malware spreads easily – that’s what makes it so dangerous, and with the high amounts of traffic on social media sites today, passing along viruses is easier than ever. If you receive responses from emails you’ve never sent, this could be a sign that you’re infected. Typically, these “ghost” messages are sent with a link and an exciting caption to get your friends and family interested (remember that Nigerian prince scam?) Usually, the virus spreads once someone clicks on the link. Make sure to always check your “sent” folder in your email, and if there are any messages you didn’t send, immediately change your password and account details.


If you’re ever surfing the web and a message comes back alerting you that you are locked out of your account until you pay a fine, this is almost always a hacker trying to steal your information. This type of virus is called ransomware, because the virus is holding your computer ransom until you pay this fine. If this happens to you, whatever you do, don’t pay up. Sometimes, the ransomware encrypts your files – at that point you might not be able to recover your data even if you remove the virus. For protection, make sure to continuously back up your data to an external hard drive or cloud so you won’t lose your data in the event your computer fall victim to malware.

Programs Stop Responding

Most computers have a keyboard shortcut that will show which programs are causing trouble. On PCs, the keyboard shortcut can be accessed by holding the Control, Alt and Delete buttons at the same time. If this task masker doesn’t show up and you can’t identify which web app is slowing you down, this might be a sign of a virus.

“Helpful” Pop-Ups

Sometimes, a Pop-Up will appear stating that your computer has a virus and, by following a link and paying money, they will remove it for you. Never trust these messages, and never click on such a link. By agreeing to the pop-up’s terms, you are downloading more malware and losing money.

Unfortunately there are many viruses that can haunt your computer secretly, have access to all your accounts and your hard-drive. Most of these viruses can go undetected until it’s too late. Download PSafe Total to make sure you and your computer never fall into the wrong hands.