System / Computer hacking have become so common that almost everyone has to deal with it at least once in their lives. And it’s not just simple pranks that amateur hackers used to pull in the early days of mainstream computer adoption.
Nowadays, cyberattacks are sophisticated, well-orchestrated and capable of posing severe threats to the personal data of Internet users.
The faster you’ll react and take necessary actions, the less the damage it will cause to you, as well as to others on the same network — family, friends, or co-workers. So first things first: learn how to recognize if your computer has been compromised. Few signs that your computer has been hacked.
Frequent random pop-ups
This is one of the most explicit indications of a computer being infected. If you start seeing more annoying pop-ups in your web browser, and they often flash in sites that usually don’t generate pop-ups, this is a bad sign.
Antivirus shutting down
Some types of malware disable your antivirus or anti-malware programs and make it difficult to re-enable them. If you notice that your antivirus has suddenly stopped working and you can’t open the Task Manager properly, it is very likely that your system has been infected with malware.
Increased network activity
For any attacker to take control of a computer, they must remotely connect to it. When someone is remotely connected to your computer, your Internet connection will be slower. Also, many times after the computer is hacked, it becomes a zombie to attack other computers. However, there are multiple legitimate reasons why your Internet connection may also be slow.
Programs show up you didn’t install
A malicious program may be disguised as legitimate software to slip into your computer. Usually, it is done by worms or malware that attach to other software to get installed together as a bundle. So, if you notice an unknown program residing on your system, it’s likely a malicious one.
Below is a listing of programs that may indicate a hacker was on the computer.
- Backdoors and trojans are by far the most common programs installed on a computer after it is hacked. These programs can allow the hacker to gain access to a large amount of information stored on your computer.
- IRC clients are another common way for a hacker to get into a computer or remotely control thousands of computers. If you have ever participated in an IRC chat, your computer could have been hacked.
- Spyware, rogue antivirus programs, and malware might be an indication of a hacker. More commonly, however, they are a sign that your computer was infected via download or visiting a hijacked page while on the Internet.
Your passwords no longer work
Getting locked out of your online accounts might mean that you have fallen into a phishing trap. A common tactic scammers use is to send an authentic-looking email from a bank or any other service you’re signed up for, asking to update your password by clicking the included link. Once you do it, you provide access to your account to hackers.
Fake emails sent from your account
If a virus has compromised your email, it might be trying to spread further by sending malicious emails to your contacts. It doesn’t automatically mean that your computer has been hacked. However, if the fake email includes your name and email address, it is likely that your system has been infected.
Don’t wait to get hacked before taking all of the above “reactive” steps. Instead, consider implementing all of the steps to boost your security now.