Computer Emergency SituationsHow to Handle Spills and Critical Malware Attacks
We’ve all been there. You’re typing away on your laptop, sending out a work email, checking your social media accounts or whatever else. And bam, the ice cold beverage sitting to your left that you forgot was there is now all over your keyboard!
Or maybe you’re clicking through emails and get a pop-up window that appears to be legitimate from your internet provider. A second too late you realize the company name is spelled wrong and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for them to interrupt you for an account update right now. Something starts to download or worse your whole screen gets taken over by the “blue screen of death” as many of us affectionately call it and you know you’ve made a mistake.
First off, don’t panic. In both cases your computer is likely compromised and your precious information may be in imminent danger, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. Below are a couple simple steps to always follow when you fear your computer has been damaged physically or infected by a malicious program.
- Force turn off the computer. In most cases including if you spill something on your laptop and fast moving virus, there is really no other choice. You may have heard in the past that turning off your computer by holding the power button is harmful, which is true when it is done too often or during critical processes however in this case it is almost always the lesser of two evils.
- If liquid damage in the keyboard is the issue, immediately flip your laptop over so the liquid can drain out of the laptop instead of in and begin the process of airing out. It will be impossible to inspect the damage until it is completely dry and therefore safe to turn back on.
- In either case, when the laptop is ready to be looked at by a professional, reach out to your preferred IT consultant and describe in as much detail as possible what happened prior to and during the incident. Skilled IT professionals should be able to talk you through any further steps and diagnose any issues you may have, sometimes remotely but many times require an in-person session.
No one is immune from malicious scams, accidental spills or uncontrollable hardware/software failures, so it’s best to be prepared. Backing up your important files on a physical hard drive or in a cloud based storage service is critical to keep your important and sensitive files safe.
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