How much does it cost to get a virus on your computer?

Getting a virus on your computer can end up costing you a lot of time, money and frustration. While some viruses may come for free just by visiting the wrong websites or opening suspicious email attachments, others can result in significant financial costs to remove and repair the damage.

What is the average cost to remove a virus?

If you do get infected with a virus, the average cost to remove it and repair any damage ranges from $100 to $300. However, costs can vary widely depending on:

  • How severe the infection is
  • How much damage or disruption was caused
  • How much time is required to remove it
  • Whether you need outside help or can remove it yourself

Some simple viruses may be able to be removed with anti-virus software or tools. But more complex or entrenched infections can requires many hours of IT support to isolate and eradicate at $100 per hour or more.

What factors increase the cost to fix a virus?

Some of the main factors that can increase the costs to remove a virus and undo the damage include:

  • Severity of infection – More complex and ingrained viruses take longer to remove completely.
  • Amount of damage – Repairing destroyed files, corrupted data or tampered settings adds time and effort.
  • Professional vs. DIY removal – Hiring an expert can cost $100-$200 vs. doing it yourself for free.
  • Lost productivity – Days or weeks of downtime take a toll on businesses dependent on IT systems.
  • New hardware – In the worst cases, infected hardware may need replacement if unsalvageable.

In general, the more embedded the virus is and the more parts of the system compromised, the higher the ultimate clean-up cost can be.

What is the cost range for professional virus removal?

If you need to hire professional help to remove a virus, costs typically range from:

  • $100 for simple, limited infections
  • $200 – $300 for moderate single PC infections
  • $500 – $1000+ for severe or widespread infections

Factors that can increase the cost include:

  • On-site vs. remote service – On-site is more expensive
  • Business vs. consumer – Business rates are higher
  • Number of devices infected
  • Hourly service fees of $100/hour or more

For major virus outbreaks across networks, costs to sanitize everything can easily exceed $1000+.

What are average costs for virus prevention?

While virus removal can get expensive, the good news is virus prevention is relatively cheap and effective. The average costs for basic virus prevention software and tools include:

  • Antivirus software – $20 – $60 per year for a single device
  • Internet security suite – $60 – $100 per year including antivirus, firewall, anti-spyware etc.
  • Network security for businesses – $500+ per year for complete network protection

Additional low-cost prevention measures include:

  • Being cautious of unknown emails and attachments
  • Avoiding suspicious websites
  • Making regular backups of data
  • Keeping software updated with latest security patches

For both home users and businesses, investing in robust virus and network security protection up front can save thousands down the road by avoiding infections in the first place.

What are the total potential costs of a virus?

Beyond just removal costs, the total potential costs of a virus infection can include:

  • Lost revenue – From downtime and disruptions
  • Lost data – Corrupted or deleted files and records
  • Lost productivity – From delays getting systems back operational
  • Breaches – Unauthorized access to sensitive information
  • Reputational damage – From PR crises if customers/clients are impacted

For a large organization, these additional costs have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars from a severe virus infection.

Can you get a virus from visiting a website?

Yes, it is possible to get a virus simply by visiting a compromised website, without having to click on anything. Some ways this can happen include:

  • Drive-by downloads – Malicious code automatically downloads and installs onto your device from the infected site.
  • Browser exploits – Security vulnerabilities in your browser are exploited to deposit malware.
  • Malvertising – Malicious ads on legitimate sites redirect to virus payloads.

Staying diligent and using secure browsers with regular updates can help minimize the risk. But sometimes all it takes is one visit to the wrong site at the wrong time to end up with an infection.

Can you get a virus from opening an email?

Yes, one of the most common ways to get infected with a virus is by opening a malicious email attachment. Some ways this can happen include:

  • Fake attachments – Emails dressed up to look legit contain infected files.
  • Scam links – Clickable links in emails take you to virus-laden sites.
  • Phishing – Spear-phishing emails target you to lower defenses and infect.

Always carefully scrutinize incoming emails and be very wary of attachments and links before clicking. Anti-spam and antivirus software can help flag suspicious emails before they get to you.

What are the odds of getting a virus from spam email?

Though not all spam contains viruses, spam emails do have a higher chance of infecting your computer. Estimates suggest:

  • 1 in 3,000 spam emails contains malware – Around 0.03%
  • 1 in 100 spam emails succeeds in a phishing attempt
  • 50% of viruses spread via email originally came from botnets sending malware spam

So while the odds from any single spam email may be low, the sheer volume of spam circulating means the overall chances are much higher.

How much data can a computer virus destroy?

The amount of data a virus can destroy depends on factors like:

  • Type of virus
  • Intended damage
  • Systems infected

But in general, the storage space and connectivity of modern PCs means even a single infected computer risks a large amount of data being compromised, including:

  • Hard disks can store 1TB or more, all of which could be overwritten or corrupted.
  • Networked drives and cloud storage may have 10s to 100s of gigabytes vulnerable and synced across multiple devices.
  • Entire databases with millions of records could potentially be encrypted, altered or deleted.

For businesses in particular, virus authors continue to refine techniques to spread quickly across networks and maximize damage to servers, backups and systems. Ongoing vigilance is key.


Getting infected with a computer virus used to be more common in the past when systems were less secure and threats more prolific. But with Windows 10 built-in protections, secure browsers, and readily available antivirus tools, modern PCs have fewer vulnerabilities to exploit.

However, threats continue to evolve and nobody is immune. Taking prudent steps to avoid suspicious emails and sites, applying timely software updates, and using robust antivirus and network security solutions can help minimize risks. But ultimately a cost-benefit analysis shows prevention is far cheaper than the potential price of cleaning up a major virus infection.