The colonial pipeline hack in the United States is one of the most significant cyber-crime attacks of 2021 so far. Ransomware attacks and data breaches are becoming more common by the year. Hackers have not only targeted corporations.
They have also moved to identify thefts. To avoid any targeted attacks by hackers, one must remain alert at all times. As a result, the need to identify a compromised PC has grown. As you continue reading, you will realize that you do not need to be a cybersecurity expert to confirm a hacked PC.
How to tell if my computer is hacked?
A hacked computer will usually try to disguise itself for as long as possible. Look for signs that your computer is acting strangely. Here are a few pointers to help you to tell if your computer is hacked before hiring a professional.
New Software or Programs That You Did Not Install Appears to Be Running
Go to Start Menu and type Add or Remove programs to bring up a new window. A list of all installed programs on your computer can be found here. Look for anything you didn’t install. Any malicious programs that have been installed in your operating system will be displayed here.
Your Passwords Aren’t Working and Somebody Locked You Out of Your Account
If you’re having trouble logging in to your computer or a website, a hacker may have changed your password. They obtained your password in an unauthorized manner and used it to gain access.
They will lock you out of your account and use any means possible to prevent you from gaining access to it again. This Guardian article explains how an attacker can permanently lock you out of your account.
Your Contacts Get Spam Emails or Messages From You
One of your close friends, family members, or relatives reports a spam email or message from you. This means that a hacker may have gained access to your account and sent messages in your name.
Examine your emails to see if you’ve received any alerts about suspicious logins. If a web application detects unusual login attempts, it will usually notify you. This notification could come in the form of an SMS or email alert, so make sure to check both.
Your Computer Network Activity Has Increased
Open Task Manager and select More Details to see a list of all currently running processes on your computer. To sort by descending order of consumption, click on the network column.
Look for anything with high network traffic. This indicates that a malicious program is transmitting tracking data and statistics to a remote hacker.
You Keep Getting Annoying Pop-ups and Messages
If you are interrupted by a pop-up error message, you can assume that your computer is infected. This virus attempts to prevent you from using your computer.
These pop-up messages can appear in such large numbers that they prevent you from working. As a result, your computer will crash.
Some Unknown Program Keeps Requesting Access to Run as Administrator
Run As Administrator is a Windows feature that grants administrative access to a program. If a program attempts to gain administrative access, Windows 10 immediately alerts us. In most cases, you’d only grant this access to trusted sources.
However, if you continue to receive these requests, it indicates that a hacker is attempting to take control of your computer. You have the upper hand as long as you continue to deny access, but it is best to assume your PC is already infected.
You Keep Getting Notified That Your Firewall Is Down
If an attacker gains access to your computer, the attacker will disable the firewall. Cybersecurity experts design firewalls to protect the network from outside attackers.
Windows 10 includes a built-in feature that notifies you if the firewall on your network or PC is down. If you keep receiving this notification, an attacker is attempting to gain access to your computer.
Your Anti-virus Software Keeps Getting Disabled Even Though You Set It to Enabled
Antivirus software, like a firewall, protects you from hackers and viruses. An antivirus program is always running in the background. It keeps an eye on your network and file system for suspicious files and activity.
A malicious program hides by disabling your antivirus software to avoid detection. Furthermore, even if you enable it, it will be disabled again.
Your Mouse or Keyboard Seems to Move on Its Own
If you’ve used remote connection services before, you’re aware that a user can log in to your computer. You could be using a compromised third-party desktop sharing tool. Using this to their advantage, the attacker can also connect to your computer.
They can take control of the screen, keyboard, and mouse. This will allow them to control your screen. In some cases, it may also be a virus designed to simulate random mouse and keyboard events. Using an antivirus program is the best way to detect such programs.
Your Pc Slows Down or Crashes, or Even Freezes to a Halt
If your computer freezes or crashes, the hacker has most likely installed a malicious program on it. Some processes may be running in the background of a hacked computer. They tend to consume a sizable portion of your CPU and memory.
There will be no space left to run regular programs, and the PC will become slow and eventually crash. To identify such harmful programs, use the Task Manager as described in Approach #4.
Your Internet Browser Has a New Homepage
This type of hacking is also known as clickjacking. An attacker will set a custom homepage in your browser. They design the homepage to look as authentic as possible to entice you to click on them at first glance.
They may provide links to your social media accounts to entice you to click on them. When you click on it, you are redirected to a suspicious website. This new site requires you to enter your account information, among other things.
This is how the attacker convinces you to send your password to them.
You Get Redirected to Suspicious Pages When Browsing the Internet
If a hacker has gained access to your network, they can direct your browser to any website they desire. You should see a spoof website that is designed to look real. Be wary if this site asks you to enter account information or credit card information.
You Keep Getting Notifications From an Unknown Antivirus Program Detecting Lots of Viruses
This is another example of a hacker personalizing error messages to get you to click on them. They craft intricate messages for you based on the targeted demographic. These messages lure you into clicking on them to find out what they mean.
For example, if I receive a message stating that I must act immediately, I will click on it. When I do this, a malicious program will be installed in the background, completing the hack.
All Your Files Have Gone Missing and Were Replaced by Shortcuts or Dummy Junk Files
This is almost certainly the result of a ransomware attack. Ransomware attacks, according to this article, are increasing year after year. The average digital ransom per incident in 2021 was $6500.
Ransomware encrypts and locks all of your data files. There is usually a requirement that you send money to a specific account to obtain the unlock key.
Registry Editor and Task Manager Not Accessible Anymore
Task Manager and Registry Editor reveal a wealth of information about your computer. They also assist you in identifying any potentially dangerous programs. To open the Registry Editor, go to the Start Menu and search for regedit.
Look for an error message or the window crashing on its own. An attacker has already changed the information in your Windows registry. They are now preventing you from correcting them by restricting access.
They may even disable access to the task manager to prevent you from running diagnostics.
There Are Unknown Purchases in Your Bank Account Statement
You may have received a notification from your bank regarding any unknown withdrawals. It means that a hacker gained access to your bank accounts and tampered with your funds.
You can also scan through your bank statements. Identify any suspicious transactions that you did not make.
Somebody called me from tech support telling me my computer is hacked.
To begin with, never believe anyone who calls you about your computer. Use all of the methods described in this article first. You could be the victim of bogus phone calls whose sole purpose is to rob you of your money.
Scam callers devise intricate schemes and weave a personal web of lies. They are attempting to persuade you to give them money of your free will. Scam calls are becoming more common all over the world. Read this list to learn how scam calls are robbing the consumer industry.
What to do when someone calls me and tells me my computer is hacked? Is my computer hacked ?
Keep your cool and ask for identification. Never give out personal information over the phone. Instead, if you know someone in technology you can rely on, ask for their assistance. If you don’t trust the caller, tell them you won’t give them any personal information.
Disconnect your computer to prevent them from using it. Look for a local tech expert to help you with your problem. The majority of the time, scam callers are attempting to fix non-existent problems with your computer.
As a result, it is always a good idea to have your PC examined before paying for the repair.
Is my personal information leaked online? Am i being hacked ?
There have been numerous data leaks through the internet. According to these figures, there were over 1001 recorded data breaches in 2020 alone. These data breaches affected over 155.8 million people in total that year.
Typically, you can use lookup services like this to determine whether or not a hacker leaked your data. If you discover that your information has been compromised, the best thing you can do is change your passwords right away.
How do I protect myself from hackers?
Hackers are constantly trying to steal information and personal data. Ransomware is a major player in the world of cybercrime. According to this article, hackers collected at least $45 million in ransom money in 2021 alone. Experts advise taking the following precautions at all times.
- Change passwords frequently.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication whenever possible.
- Use trusted applications only.
- Never click on links in spam messages.
- Set up firewalls in your home and office network.
- Install reputed anti-virus programs.
- Avoid connecting to free public Wi-Fi hotspots whenever possible.
- Use the remote lock and erase features in case of hardware thefts.
- Limit online browsing activity to secure sites only.