How to Get Rid of a Virus in Your Devices?Vanessa Venugopal
Cyberattacks have been rising in number, particularly the last year. Since most are forced to work from home due to the pandemic, cybercriminals were given the opportunity to hack as many individuals and organizations.
Online scams alone rise to more than 400% in March 2020, compared to previous months. Even Google has reported that they have been blocking over 18 million malware and phishing emails related to Covid-19. Those numbers are only from the beginning of the pandemic. How much more would there be if you get to see the whole 2020 report.
Cybercriminals never stop, and like technology that’s evolving, so are their techniques. So, even if you are using the best technology or device, cyber threats are everywhere online. Therefore, you need to be careful every time you connect to a network.
But how will you know that your device is not infected? Or, what if your device has a virus? What should you do then?
Getting infected by a computer virus is nothing new. Numerous devices get infected by this crippling online virus due to unsafe online practices and lack of protection. So, when you don’t practice safe online browsing and no computer security installed, there is no doubt that your computer can catch a virus along the way.
How Do I Check for Viruses?
- Slowing down of device: If your device takes longer than usual, there is a chance that a virus is present since it’s been taking up all your system’s resources.
- Can’t run or update your antivirus: Some viruses block the action of antivirus applications to prevent detecting the threat.
- Crashing of applications and freezing of device
- Uses plenty of resources: Viruses run in the background taking plenty of your device’s memory, disk, and CPU space.
- Uncontrollable pop-ups like offers and prizes.
- Lost access to your system’s settings: Viruses present in a computer’s system can roam freely and block users from their devices or admin privileges.
- Presence of unknown software, application, or browser extension installed in your device.
- Some files are missing.
- Sending emails to your contacts without your permission.
If you have experienced any of these signs, it’s better to take action and get rid of the virus present in your device. If you let the virus stay longer in your device, here’s what can happen;
- Damages programs
- Deletes valuable files
- Reformats the hard drive
- Crashes and freezes applications on your computer
- Slowing down of the device
Viruses can be annoying when it spreads into your device, but there is a way to remove this threat. But, if you are infected by dangerous threats, there are other ways to remove them from the system.
How to Get Rid of a Virus in Your PC
Enter into Safe Mode
Safe mode enables users to get rid of the virus and run the antivirus application freely.
- Hold Shift key > Restart PC
- After it restarts, it will display a menu with boot options, then choose Troubleshoot.
- Click Advanced Options > Startup Settings
- Click Restart
- Press F5 (Restart Safe Mode with Networking). This mode allows network drivers to restart too.
Make sure that you are disconnected from the internet.
Delete Temporary Files
Getting rid of temporary files help defragment the hard drive and prevent the virus from inserting its code into the temporary files. Furthermore, removing temporary files can speed up the scanning process.
- Go to Start Menu > Windows Administrative Tools > select Disk Cleanup
- Choose Temporary files > click OK
Install a Virus Scanner
To detect the presence and location of a virus, you’ll need a virus scanner, either real-time or on-demand scanning. As mentioned earlier, you should stay disconnected online, but if you don’t have a virus scanner, you need to connect online and download. After which, immediately disconnect from the internet.
However, there are virus scanners that don’t require the internet to download them. You can download Microsoft Safety Scanner.
Scan Your Device
Using your on-demand and real-time virus scanner, you’ll be able to increase the chances of detecting the virus successfully.
How to Get Rid of Viruses in Mac
Mac computers can also be infected by viruses. So, when people say Macs are safe from threats, you shouldn’t believe them. In fact, Mac threats have surpassed that of Windows, according to the 2020 Malwarebytes report. It stated that in 2019 Mac threats increased by 400% year-on-year, which is more than Windows experienced.
If you noticed that your computer is having the signs mentioned above, then it’s time to get rid of the culprit.
Getting rid of a virus in a Mac computer entails different steps compared to Windows PC.
Use a Virus Remover or Cleaner
You need to search for the best Mac virus remover to get rid of your device’s issue. But be wary of downloading any software or application that appears on Google. Make sure to source your software from trusted sites and suppliers. You can use Bitdefender for Mac to scan your device for the threat. In addition, it protects your device from future attacks and gets rid of threats other than viruses.
Reset Your Mac
If you don’t want to run a virus scanner, you can choose to perform a full factory reset on your computer. However, you’ll need to reinstall some software, applications, and files that are deleted during the reset. Hence, before resetting, make sure you have a backup of your files before the device was infected.
Uninstall Suspicious Applications or Files
Viruses often install applications alongside them. So, it is vital to look for these applications on your Mac.
- Open the Application folder in Finder and move the suspicious application to Trash.
- Go to Library folder in Finder > locate for the folder related to the app > delete and move it to Trash.
- Look for files related to the application and delete all of them.
- Empty Trash after getting rid of unwanted applications.
Remove Unwanted Browser Extensions
Viruses not only install applications on your Mac but also into your browser. This extension modifies the user’s browser settings and redirects them to the hacker’s search engine.
There are plenty of browsers available, but two of the most common browsers used by Mac users are Safari and Chrome.
Here’s how you can get rid of unwanted extensions on your browsers.
- Open Safari > go to Preferences > Extensions tab
- Check any suspicious extension added to your browser
- Select the extension > click Uninstall
- Open Chrome > click the three dots on the upper right corner of the window.
- Select More Tools > Extensions
- Select the suspicious extension and click Remove.
Can My Phone Get a Virus?
Phones are not normally infected with computer viruses, but that doesn’t mean that your device cannot be affected by other kinds of threats.
The traditional viruses infecting computers are not seen on iOS and Android phones. Usually, other forms of malware are common in these devices.
Does My Phone Have a Virus?
Phones don’t get traditional viruses, only other forms of malware. If your device is infected by malware, some signs will make you suspicious about it.
- Apps repeatedly crash
- Increase overall data usage
- Unexpected charges
- Annoying pop-ups
- Increase battery drainage
- Overheating of the device due to excessive use of phone RAM and CPU
- Mysteriously installed apps
How to Remove Malware in Your Phone?
Enter Safe Mode
Safe Mode allows you to check what is behind the cause of your Android phone acting suspiciously.
Not all Android phones have the same way to enter Safe Mode. You can search how you can shift to Safe Mode for your phone.
You can shift to Safe Mode in most Android phone by simply;
- Press and hold down the Power button > a pop-up appears to convert to Safe Mode.
Locate the Malicious App
- Go to Settings > choose Manage Apps/ Apps & Notifications > select Downloaded app/ Installed apps
- Search for suspicious applications installed in your device. If can’t locate any suspicious app, it may be the new app you have installed in your device that could be the source. Then, click Uninstall to remove the application.
If unable to click the Uninstall button, it means that the malware that infected your device has blocked your admin access. To gain access to the app, go to Settings > Security > click Device Administrators. Here you can see if the malware has control of the app. You can gain access by tapping on the app and removing access by clicking Deactivate. Now you can go back to uninstall the app.
Restart Your Phone to fix your Android device.
Clear Cache and Downloads
Clear your Chrome browser to remove malware such as Adware. This type of malware shows plenty of pop-up ads or redirects you to another site.
- Go to Settings > Apps > find Chrome > choose Storage & Cache
- Click Clear Cache, Clear Storage, and Clear All Data, then click OK.
Reset Your Phone
If none of the steps mentioned work out, the only way to remove the malware is to restore the phone to its factory default setting.
- Open Settings > choose System > Reset Options > Erase All Data / Factory Reset > confirm > restart device
- If you have backed up your phone’s data before the malware, you can restore its content easily.
iPhone doesn’t get viruses/ malware. It’s because iOS users’ Apple Store is secure. The only time an iPhone can be infected by malware is when installing an app from a third-party and clicking on suspicious links. Furthermore, if you jailbreak your iOS device to install applications from a third-party source, it has a higher chance of downloading an infected app.
There are different ways you can get rid of the malware in your iOS device.
Clear History and Data on Browser
If you are infected by adware, all you have to do is clear your history and data.
- Go to Settings > look for Safari Tab > click Clear History and Website Data.
To clean your device or completely wipe out its content should be the last resort.
- Go to Settings > General > tap Reset > Erase All Content and Settings
You can restore previous content if you have back up your data before it was infected.
Use the Previous Backup
If you frequently back up your data, it would be the best way to restore your iOS device, as long as your most recent backup is not infected by malware.
Getting rid of the virus (computer) and malware (phone and computer) shouldn’t stop there. You need to protect your device from future threats. There are multiple ways to keep your devices safe from cyberattacks.
- Update your device’s operating system and other applications.
- Download from reputable sources only.
- Do not click on suspicious links.
- Use a reliable antivirus such as Bitdefender. It is the best antivirus in 2020, according to most tech magazines. It’s a highly recommended name in the industry as it can protect all your devices (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android).
- Use a VPN.
- Install a firewall.
- Avoid connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi.
- Use a password manager to store all your passwords and valuable information.
Recognizing the signs of an infected device, whether it’s your computer or phone, can help prevent further damage. You can save your device from destruction to losing all your data. Cyber threats are serious security issues that need attention and proactive protection. Using the right antivirus software and following precautions can keep you safe from threats old and new.