How Do You Know if You’ve Been Hacked?


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Categories Data Security, Network Security

Believe it or not it’s not that easy to know if you’ve been hacked. Why? Because hackers have very crafty ways of hiding or disguising their actions. However, there are some common things to look for after a computer hack.

If you notice new programs have been installed on your computer, it could be one indication of a hack. After installing updates or plugins users should be prompted by a box to check to authorize installing additional software. Unchecking the box can help avoid installing a potentially dangerous piece of malware or something worse.

If you are a home user typically User Account Control will provide a pop-up message to alert you to authorize a change or install. If this feature has been disabled and not by you, it may also shed light that an issue may be present.

After a computer has been hacked it may have programs running on it such as backdoors, Trojan, Spyware, keyloggers, mailbots, ransomware, script kiddies, root kits, and various other types of malware. If you have visited a hijacked page while browsing, you could have been infected with one of these and not know that it is running on your machine.

Remotely controlled programs are another common way for hackers to do their dirty deeds and possibly remotely control and view your machine. Online passwords can be a red flag that you’ve been hacked. If you have not changed your password, but it has been changed, you should contact the service provider. Passwords don’t change on their own.

E-mail accounts can be hijacked and used to spread viruses and spam to people on your contact list. Advise your contacts if they get e-mails that you have not sent, but it appears they came from you. Please change your e-mail password immediately if this happens to you.

If you receive an e-mail from one your contacts and the grammar is a little off, it might be a clear indication of a phishing attempt. A good rule of thumb is to hover your mouse over the “from” address and verify it came from the address displayed. If you receive an email from a contact or business that seems too good to be true, don’t hesitate to place a call to them to verify. Typically, a phone call will sort out whether the message is legit or not.

An increase in network activity can indicate someone has remotely connected to your computer. It can then be used to attack other computers. Your internet connection may appear to be slower, but that is not always associated with a hack. There may be a legitimate reason why it is slower.

Security programs that have been disabled or uninstalled may be an indication of a hack. A virus that has been added to your computer has the potential to disable the antivirus or anti-malware program and do harm.

If you notice your computer doing things by itself, that is a big indicator that it has been breached at the very root level.

Changes to your web browser configuration can be symptomatic of a viral infection. Things like browser changes on your homepage or an added third-party toolbar.

All of these things are indicators and on a network level it can be devastating. If you rely on an IT team to come to the rescue, can you count on them to respond quickly? Or if they are really savvy, perhaps they alerted you of a potential problem.

What really matters most is that you have the immediate help you need at a critical time. It’s good to know that experts are just a phone call or e-mail away from getting to the bottom of it. Hacking is not likely to go away in the near future, so make sure you, your associates, your network, your friends know the name Sentry GT.