Most people have experienced a computer virus at some point, and most of us have some kind of virus protection installed. But, while you may be aware of the basics of keeping your computer safe, having a network virus can be a different beast entirely.
Network Viruses Can Be Silent
Your network likely runs a number of silent operations around the clock. It nearly always has devices connected to it that are running some kind of update or being pushed some kind of data.
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When a virus infects a network, it can move laterally from one device to the next, storing and replicating itself across your entire network in ways that you don’t notice. At first.
Eventually, you may begin to notice strange or uncommon ads, or your web browser may start loading pages that you don’t send it to. If you notice strange activity that you can’t explain or get rid of with a typical virus scan, you may need to look into the security of your network.
Network Viruses Can Be Costly
While you probably hate the idea of going to a professional where there’s something wrong, computer and network viruses are a lot like human viruses – if you don’t take care of them properly, they only spread and get worse. What begins as one small, isolated problem that could have been solved in a few steps morphs into some terrible string that has wound itself through your entire life.
Computer and network viruses can steal confidential, private, secure information. They can track the movements and keystrokes of people on your network; they may be able to access your system files without your knowledge, adding new data and removing yours.
If You Suspect A Network V
If you being to suspect that your network is infected, take a few specific steps to protect yourself as much as possible.
- Immediately cease your computer activities. Close out of all programs. Shut down everything you were running. Under no circumstances should you visit any websites that require you to input passwords or account information. Don’t even visit the sites that might autopopulate any saved information. Simply close out of everything.
- Isolate the network. Immediately disconnect as many devices from the network as possible. Use the devices themselves to do this, rather than your router. Go into the network settings on your phones, tablets, and computers and disconnect them. Do the same with anything connected via Wifi or a cable.
- Check the DNS server. A sure sign that your network has been comprised is if the DNS server has been changed. To check this, you will need to login to your router’s web-based setup page. Use a phone or mobile “hotspot” and virtual private network (VPN) to login with your router’s username and password, then take a look at the server settings. Most networks will be set to “automatic”, and that’s fine. If you notice manual settings with customized information, there may be a problem. However, if you have had an IT professional work on your network security in the past, he or she may have set the server settings to a secure DNS network. If your server settings are NOT set to “automatic”, it’s time to head to a professional.
If your DNS server settings are set to “automatic”, you may still have a network virus on your local network. A computer tech can help you assess and troubleshoot for any type of network virus, as well as prevent attacks in the future. We recommend that you keep your devices off, disconnect the router, and take it in for examination. Take at least two of the devices that you use to access the network as well.
Protect your network, better
Better protection means a safer future. Protect your network from viruses with the most updated firmware and virus protection software for every device on your network – including routers and modems. Ask the professionals about firewalls, encryption, virtual private networks, and other secure options to ease your mind and increase your efficiency online.