How To Tell If a Computer Is Hacked? | What to Do in Case of Fishing, Ransomware, Identity Theft or Cryptojacking

Are hackers likely to gain access to your computer and got access to your personal information?

There is a definite possibility of hackers gaining remote access to your device.

The truth is that hackers want to access your personal data, credit card information, and online activities. 

Hacking is a serious issue of cybersecurity today. Especially since various antivirus software programs may not keep up with malicious hackers because some of their tricks can last for hours. They can also change several bytes such that a previously recognizable malware program becomes unrecognizable, making data of the virus difficult to remove. That's why we recommend using this top anti malware and internet security software. On the other hand, check out whether the best free antivirus software is enough to keep you safe from this threat.

Also, every operating system is susceptible to hacking, malware, including iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows PC, and Mac. You will even need an antivirus for Linux, well known for its internet safety. There are obvious reasons to get an antivirus protection for your business, as well (see this post).

So, how do you tell if your computer has been hacked?

hacker behind the code

Types of Hacking

Phishing

In phishing, hackers try to lure you into clicking a particular link on a text message or email and other online activity. If you click on the link, it redirects you to a malicious website or tricks you to share your personal information and other important data.

Phishing is a sophisticated hacking type as hackers create perfect copies of institutions such as airlines and banks.

Identity Theft

Identity theft happens if a hacker gains access to your personal information and other credentials without your permission and uses it for fraudulent purposes. Such information can include your name, address, date of birth, social security number, etc.

A hacker can also impersonate you and take or even borrow money from your bank.

no face

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware. This is a type of hacking where hackers take hold of your files and encrypt them, making the data inaccessible to you.

The hacker then asks for a ransom before they can release the files back to you. They usually ask for the ransom in terms of cryptocurrency, and when you send the ransom, they release the files.

Cryptojacking

Hackers can also get hold of your computer and use it to mine cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency mining requires a considerable number of CPU cycles. A hacker will use malware to take hold of your system, network traffic & connections and use them to mine cryptocurrencies.

bitcoin

Signs that Your Computer Has Been Hacked 

Has your device been hacked?

It may not be easy to tell whether your device has been hacked or not even if you sit in front of your computer for a long time. But there are some signs you can look out for to know if you've been hacked. These signs include:

You Receive Random Antivirus Pop-up Messages

Random pop-ups on your screen may indicate that someone else is controlling your computer.

The random pop up & fake antivirus messages may be from a fake antivirus software pretending to have scanned your device and found malicious software.

Task manager, Antimalware, and Registry Editor Are Disabled 

If you open your device or PC and realize your computer's antivirus program is disabled and you didn't do it, it is a sign you may have been hacked.

Also, when you try to open your registry editor or task manager but it declines or starts then disappears, you may have been compromised.

You can do a complete restore of the system to see if the issue will be resolved.

antivirus not working

The Mouse Moves by Itself and Makes Selections 

If your mouse makes selections without your control, it is a sign that you've been hacked.

A pointer can move randomly, especially due to a hardware issue. However, if the pointer moves and makes selections, some malicious people are behind it.

Hackers use this technique to break into your online accounts like bank accounts, trade your stocks, transfer your money, etc.

Friends Receive Social Media Invitations That You Didn't Send

Have your friends been contacting you, asking you why you are sending them new social media invitations on the same platform?

Or you have been receiving invitations from people you are already connected with as friends on your social platforms.

In either case, it is a sign that a hacker has taken control of your social media accounts or has opened another account that looks similar to the original page.

It will help if you contact the social network platform and report the bogus look-alike page. You can also warn your friends so that they don't accept the requests.

messages you did not send

Your Online Password Is No Longer Working

If you are typing your password correctly, but you cannot gain access, there is a possibility you've been hacked.

It is not uncommon for a password to decline to log in, especially if there is a technical hitch. But if you are sure that your online password can no longer log in to your accounts, then you might have been hacked.

A hacker may have accessed your password, logged in to your accounts, and then changed the password to lock you out.

Probably you are wondering, "How do they get my password?"

You may have responded to a phishing email that looks legitimate and claims to be from a trusted service. The hacker used the phishing email to get your login information. Immediately after, the hackers log in to your online account, change the password, and all the details that would help recover the password.

The hacker will proceed to use the information to steal your money.

Unexpected Installation of Software

If you observe an unexpected installation of software that you didn't authorize, it is a significant sign that you've been hacked.

Today, most malware programs are in the form of worms and Trojans. The suspicious programs look legitimate, which tricks you into downloading and installing them on your computer. The malicious programs can start to download other software or new software in an attempt to steal your identity and other personal information.

Before installing any program on your device, it's essential to read the license agreements and understand them. Sometimes, the license agreement can state that the program will install other programs or software. You have the option of opting out of extra programs, but sometimes there is no option.

intallation

Your Online Searches Are Redirected 

Hackers earn by making your link appear on another website. As such, they will redirect your browser or and searches to sites that you don't want to visit.

You can identify the malware by typing common words on your browser and seeing the internet search redirection results. If the search results in the search engine are not related to the words you have typed, it is a sign that your searches have been compromised. 

You can also tell if your computer has malware if the default homepage in your browser changed, even if you did not change it.

Today, the redirection is more complicated as compromised search results are not visible to the user.

You can sniff your browser and network traffic to confirm if your web searches are being redirected.

hacker

How To Protect Your Computer From Being Hacked

Prevention and stop hackers are better cures and best protection when it comes to online hacking. Hoping that you can use and system scan your computer with the best antimalware program to detect and prevent hacking may be far fetched. You must be aware off all cyber threats including spyware, trojan malware and keyloggers. Also, have ever heard anyone asking: 'What is a computer worm?'

It will be of help if you keep an eye out for the symptoms of hacking and take appropriate action, including a complete computer restore.

Protecting your device is like protecting your personal data, bank account, credit cards,  and other important data from hacker attacks. This is an effortless process. Some basic protection measures will go a long way in ensuring your online security. Data breaches and other heinous cyber incidents can be humiliating and extremely costly to deal with.

One of the crucial measures to maintain includes keeping your Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 7, and other operating systems up to date. it contains the latest security features and seals loopholes that attackers would take advantage of. You may also get the latest firewall and install it into your computer system.

So, what practices can protect you from hackers?

masked hackers

Browse the Internet in Safe Mode 

It will help a lot if you can browse the internet in safe mode.

Safe mode (incognito mode) enables your device to start with default system apps and prevents third-party apps.

It also disables unnecessary features on your browser.

If you are experiencing system crashes, or you suspect your security is compromised, browsing in Incognito mode is a safe practice.

Use Strong Passwords 

Using strong passwords is one of the best practices in keeping hackers at bay. Try not to use the same password for different devices and applications. You should use a variety of complex passwords to keep all your accounts secure.

A complex password contains letters, symbols, numbers, and capital letters. The password should be unique and not easy for other parties to guess.

Also, don't have a word document in your device titled passwords as it is the first thing hackers look for as soon as they get access to your device. Instead, you can store the passwords with a password manager or keep them on a piece of paper.

blue website

Be Cautious of the Networks You Use 

You should be cautious of the networks you connect to if you want to protect yourself from crackers.

For example, do not use public WiFi to surf the internet. Public WiFi makes it easy for crackers to track your online activities and use it to hack your device.

Also, you should be cautious about opening links from emails. If you don't recognize an email address, you should avoid opening any link or attachment from the email. Some phishing emails and scams also disguise as authoritative or genuine emails from an address you may know.

Crackers can track you on social media and inbox you pretending to be your friend, tricking you into divulging sensitive information.

global information

Conclusion

Hacking is a widespread cybersecurity issue that affects millions of internet users. Crackers can steal your personal data to sell to third parties or use it in committing cybercrimes. You can tell if you've been hacked by observing some signs such as changes in your device's performance. 

You can also notice applications that you didn't install and a pointer that makes selections on its own. You can safeguard yourself from crackers by avoiding public WiFi and also using complex and unique passwords.
If you observe any suspicious activity on your computer, take immediate action to prevent the virus from spreading.

FAQs

1. What are the signs of a hacked computer?

Here are some of the certain signs that someone has hacked your computer:

- You cannot update your system.
- Your computer works slower than usual.
- You notice unusual hard disk activity.
- Your antivirus software is disabled.
- Strange things show up on your screen.

Another red flag is the inability to access to key system settings, such as the factory reset or system restore option and other system resources.

2. How can your computer be hacked?

Crackers can get control over your computer in various ways. For example, they can install a keylogger and capture every username and password that you typed. This way, they can hack your account on different websites, including your bank accounts.
They can also steal your email details and send malicious emails to all the contacts in your email folders in order to spread viruses, other malware and spyware.

3. Can someone be watching me on my computer?

Yes, crackers can use malware to access your PC camera. There are many trojans out there that can spy on you via your computer's camera. Criminals even ask for money from people after they have collected embarrassing pictures or videos of them via webcam.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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