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How to Deal with Computer Viruses

It's 11pm and the Saturday before finals. I have been studying all day long--I decide to reward myself with a movie. Who wants to spend four dollars to watch what you want on Amazon Prime when you can download it for free? I'd rather use the money for a tea latte at Temple Coffee Roasters.

I haven’t been on this website before, and it tells me I need to install something to play the movie. I type in my computer password.

Shoot. I officially download three viruses on my computer.

Being the stress case that I am, I flip out. But I am here to tell you to take a deep breath. I promise it is going to be okay. We live in a world built on technology, so even the best of us might download a virus at some point.

I downloaded both malware and adware. I was able to tell that the programs I installed were viruses because I saw funny looking icons in my applications that I had never seen before. Basically, the malware I installed pretended to be antivirus programs, told me there were “viruses” on my computer, and asked me to buy their software so they could remove these “viruses.” They cannot break into any of passwords or personal information. If you did, however, purchase something from these viruses or any other malware application, contact your bank immediately and cancel your card.

Adware, on the other hand, is much more intrusive because it makes it almost impossible to use the web on your computer. Adds pop up everywhere, voice overs play on repeat telling you there are viruses on your computer, and new tabs open without your control. Adware pretends to be Mac and urgently tells you to call a number for help. Do not call the number. The person on the other end of the phone will ask for personal information to use maliciously.

Again, if you give personal information out, contact your bank right away.

If you think you have a virus on your Mac, shut down your device. Then schedule a genius bar appointment at your local Apple store for as soon as possible. You need to go in with your computer to have them erase the viruses. Apple had to swipe everything off my computer, including Microsoft Word and every essay I had ever written. I felt like a grandma when I shook my head when asked if I have ever backed anything up.

As an English major, this was not a prime situation to be in. But I was relieved my computer was now virus free.

If you are paranoid about viruses (like I now am) here is what you can do to be extra safe:

1.) Never download free movies from random sites

2.) Be cautious when clicking on websites to visit on the web

3.) Before you download and install anything, make sure it is safe

4.) Go into Apple and ask them to download a free antivirus program for you. I strongly do not recommend doing this on your own because many viruses pretend to be anti virus programs.

Hannah Wren is an English major and Digital Humanities minor on the Dean's Honors List for outstanding academic performance at UCLA. Hannah loves to write and has ample writing experience outside of school. Currently, she works at 7 Generation Games where she creates content for their website to engage and inspire their users. When she is not writing or working, she enjoys spending time with her family, bonding with friends and reading. After she graduates college, Hannah hopes to become a UX designer, entertainment journalist and publish a novel.
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