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What should I do if I get a computer virus?

There are a number of ways a computer virus can infect your PC. Many of the most common methods tend to involve some form of human error. One widespread cause is users opening an infected email.  This is still a problem despite years of people being told they should be wary of opening e-mails from people they don’t know. Another commonplace mistake is users declining or delaying a system update and leaving themselves exposed. Users who surf unsafe sites and don’t keep their antivirus software up-to-date is also an issue we encounter regularly.

Common Ways Infected Computers Spread Viruses

Many of the most prevalent virus dissemination methods involve human error, such as opening an infected email or utilising flash drives that contain malicious code.

Virus on Computer: What to Do?

If you suspect a virus on your computer system, the first step is to isolate the infected machine. Remove it from the network to avoid detection and further spread to other terminals.

Steps to Get Rid of a Computer Virus

But what should you do in the unfortunate event you get a virus on your computer? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Identify the Infected Machine: Locate the computer with the virus and, where possible, remove it from the network.
  2. Virus Scanning: Conduct a full system scan on the infected machine using up-to-date security software.
  3. Delete Files: Remove any detected viruses and malicious code.
  4. Restart Your Computer in Safe Mode: This operating system version runs without many of the programs and processes required by full Windows, making it easier to rid your computer of a virus.
  5. Run Another Scan: Viruses can reinstall themselves, so run another scan in Safe Mode.
  6. Reconnect to Network: Once you’re certain the machine is clean, you can put it back on the network.

Preventative Measures vs. Reactive Measures: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

When it comes to dealing with computer viruses, the age-old adage “prevention is better than cure” holds true. But how does this translate in terms of cost-effectiveness?

  1. Immediate Costs: Reactive measures, such as hiring experts to remove viruses and restore systems, can be expensive. The immediate costs can range from hundreds to thousands of pounds, depending on the severity of the infection and the value of the lost data.
  2. Long-Term Costs: Beyond the immediate financial burden, reactive measures can also result in long-term costs. These include potential loss of customer trust, damage to brand reputation, and even legal consequences for failing to protect customer data.
  3. Preventative Costs: On the other hand, preventative measures like investing in robust security software and employee training programmes may seem costly upfront but are generally more cost-effective in the long run. Sophos and Mimecast, for instance, offer comprehensive solutions that protect against viruses and offer features like email filtering and data archiving.
  4. Return on Investment (ROI): The ROI for preventative measures is often higher because they offer ongoing protection, reducing the likelihood of future infections and their associated costs.
  5. Peace of Mind: While difficult to quantify, the peace of mind that comes with knowing your systems are secure is invaluable. Although not directly translatable to pounds and pence, this psychological benefit contributes to a healthier work environment and can even boost employee productivity.

While both preventative and reactive measures come with their own costs, investing proactively in cybersecurity measures like Sophos and Mimecast is generally more cost-effective in the long term. It saves money and preserves the integrity of your brand and customer trust.

How Do Computer Viruses Spread?

Viruses often spread through email attachments, flash drives, and by exploiting vulnerabilities in the operating system. Always keep your security software and operating system up-to-date to minimise risks.

Signs That Your Computer is Infected

Slow performance, unexpected pop-ups, and frequent crashes are often a sign that your computer may be infected with a virus or other type of malware.

Preventative Measures

Be proactive today and invest in preventative cybersecurity measures like Sophos and Mimecast to decrease the threat of a security breach.

If you require advice on antivirus protection or any other aspect of IT security, do get in touch with the team at Arc Systems. Our team of experts will be more than happy to provide you with the information and guidance you need.

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