Are you suddenly receiving alerts or error messages that your computer has been locked? Here are 11 clear signs you have a computer virus and what to do next.

The biggest target of cybercriminals is small businesses. At least 58% of malware attack victims are small businesses. A big percentage (94%) of these attacks came from malware and phishing emails.

Do you suspect that your computer has been locked due to viruses? It’s easy to get insidious PC viruses and malware without your knowledge. However, removing them is difficult and can cost you a lot.

Do you want to learn how to tell if your computer got infected with malware? Below, we’ve compiled a list of signs to help you find out.

  1. Pop-Up Ads Are Flooding Your Computer

Now, it’s common to see pop-up ads everywhere. However, if you’re seeing a lot more than usual, you might be a victim of adware. Seeing too many ads is one of the most obvious signs that you’re a target of malware.

If you see these pop-up ads spamming your computer, don’t click on any of them. They may lead you to a site that installs malware into your system. They might also install spyware to steal your passwords and other personal data.

One of the most common messages tells you that your computer has been locked. The solution is to uninstall any malicious programs from your PC. Afterward, use an anti-malware program to remove the adware and other malware.

  1. You Lose Access to Files

Are you unable to open certain files and/or folders on your computer? Is something stopping you from logging on or off your computer? Are you locked out of even the control panel and other settings?

Getting locked out of your computer can be vexing. It’s especially frustrating when you can’t access important files. To fix this, look into computer virus removal options or services.

  1. Your Computer Has Been Locked by Poor Performance

Bugs and viruses often take up a lot of your computer’s resources. This includes power, memory, and background operations. When your computer gets infected, this means that a virus is feeding on all these resources.

You’ll see proof of this when you’re starting up your computer and it takes too long to boot up. Opening files and apps might also take too long.

However, other possible explanations for a slow computer are low RAM and low storage space on the hard disk.

  1. There’s More Network Usage Than You Use

Is there a big increase in network activity on your PC? You might notice that your internet bill is charging you for large amounts of data. The problem is you didn’t use as much data as they say you did.

One of the possible explanations for this is that your PC got infected with a virus. This often happens to those who don’t know they’re members of botnets. Botnets are large online networks under the control of a single attacking party.

  1. You See New Unauthorized Changes to Your Browser

Google Chrome has customization options that let you pick a theme and add extensions. If you use Firefox and other browsers, you’ll notice they also allow similar preferences. However, if you’re noticing new toolbars you didn’t install, you may have a malware issue on your hands.

If you allowed the browser to save passwords and personal data, this is a very serious problem. Be careful when you’re visiting a new website. You might trigger software that gets downloaded and installed without permission.

  1. Disabled Security Software

If you suspect that a virus or malware is affecting your PC, check your security software. Are they disabled out of the blue without you disabling them? This means that your PC has already gotten infected.

Security software and antivirus programs are your first and strongest defense against malware. Those with real-time scanning and up-to-date protection are especially tough to crack. As expected, they’ll be the first line of defense that a malware shuts down.

  1. Computer Keeps Crashing

Have you seen the Blue Screen of Death recently? Does your computer screen freeze then turn black? Does this happen even when you’re doing menial tasks like watching a video or playing games?

One of the most obvious infected PC signs is frequent crashes. For example, it shuts down or restarts without warning. You might also notice that you’ve run out of hard disk space or programs are missing for no reason.

Note that this problem might also be a sign that your software and/or hardware are incompatible.

  1. Unfamiliar Programs Get Installed and Open

When you click ads or enter unsecured pages, you can download Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) without you knowing. Once they’re done downloading, they often install and open on automatic. Often, PUPs on your computer are malicious programs.

If you ignore them, they can do a lot of damage to your computer and data.

They can be the reason why you see a ton of annoying pop-up ads. They cause extra toolbars on your browser. They can even expose private information to leakage.

  1. Your PC Displays Odd Error Messages 

Have you tried renaming a folder then getting a message that you’re unable to? You know the folder is clean and is not a virus. Yet, there’s a bug that’s stopping you from doing things like this.

These error messages might even say that your files are missing or corrupted. When you see messages like this, it means that your PC has gotten compromised.

Another cause is you must install the latest update on your operating system.

  1. Your Battery Drains Fast

When your computer gets infected, a lot may be running in the background. These unwanted background operations eat up resources, including power. This can happen whether you use a desktop or laptop.

The power which the malware is eating up will cause problems later. One of these is slow performance. Your PC might even shut down without warning because of it.

  1. There Are Records of Emails You Didn’t Send

Have your contacts told you about strange emails you’ve sent them even when you haven’t sent them anything? If you get messages like this, it’s time to check your Sent Items folder. If it’s full of emails you didn’t send out yourself, you’re a victim of a malware attack.

This also applies to social media like Facebook. There may even be times when you can’t log into your account or email.

When your email gets compromised, it’s high time to shut it down and make a new one.

Ensure the Safety of Your Computer

Those are the 11 signs that your computer has been locked up by malware and viruses. When you notice these signs in your PC or laptop, get help right away. Don’t wait for a virus icon to show up when you already see early signs on your computer.

Don’t hesitate to revisit this guide to understand confusing and alarming computer behaviors. If you want to see more valuable content like this, check out our other guides today!