Everybody knows that, the minute we go online, we are at risk of hackers and spammers. We all know, as well, that we have to have effective security solutions in place to protect ourselves from this. However, sometimes things simply go wrong. The world of malware and protection is a cat and mouse game, in which new protection measures are developed in response to new attacks, and vice versa. This is why, according to Richard Blech, it is so important to be aware of the signs of a hacker having compromised your device.
How Do You Get Hacked?
There are three key methods used by hackers to get malware on your computer:
- They spot that your software is unpatched, which means it hasn’t updated.
- They attach a Trojan horse to a file that you download.
- They send you a phishing email.
Good antivirus software will protect you from all three of these things. However, as stated, it is a cat and mouse game and there is always a chance that something will go wrong. So what should you look for that will tell you that you have been hacked?
Richard Blech on the Signs of Hacking
There are six key ways to spot that you have been hacked:
- You get a fake antivirus message. The hacker hopes that you will click on the link, which allows them to take over your system and access any personal information that you have on there. These tricks are sophisticated. So much so, in fact, that the message will likely look genuine and, when you click on it, you will be redirected to a website that looks equally genuine. If you feel this has happened, restart your computer in safe mode and uninstall the program that has just been installed on your computer, which will be the virus.
- You get new browser toolbars without asking for them. This usually happens after you have downloaded something and, in most cases, is harmless but very annoying. You can ask your browser to remove the toolbar, which should fix the problem, perhaps even by restoring to default. If you have up to date software, it should be impossible for malicious toolbars to be added to it.
- Your passwords have suddenly changed. If this happens, you have probably fallen for a phishing email and given your details away. You must report this to your internet provider and to the provider of the account that has been compromised. You must also learn your lesson: never click on links in emails.
- New software is suddenly installed. If you’re lucky, you can simply uninstall this through your control panel. If that doesn’t work, you should be able to use free online tools to disable the programs. Be careful, however, that these tools aren’t actually the last piece of the puzzle for the hacker.
- Your cursor moves beyond your control, which means someone else has taken control over your computer. Immediately switch your computer off and disconnect from the internet. Go to a local computer, such as your library, to change all your passwords and contact your internet provider. This is a very serious attack and one that should be reported to the police.
- Your registry editor, task manager, or antivirus program won’t start. Unfortunately, this usually means you have to completely restore your computer. Make sure you do so without being connected to the internet.