Hacking can be a scary thing and can really take a toll on a business or an individuals personal files. Below are 9 things to look out for to help you spot a hack and minimize damages before it gets out of hand.
1. Your computer or your phone is running very slow
When a computer becomes infected with malware the extra; non-intended software downloaded to your device can take up a lot of processing power.
2. Your Anti-Virus has been disabled and is no longer running
A red flag signaling that your computer has been hacked is when you suddenly notice a pop up warning you that your anti-virus is no longer working. Sometimes these messages can even be disabled so it is often a good idea to check and verify that your anti-virus is working properly. If you do notice that it is disabled and it keeps disabling itself after you turn it back on, you may want to scroll down and learn how to recover from this situation.
3. Browser extensions that you didn’t install
If you notice any new extensions or add-ons in your browser that you didn’t install, it could very well mean that your computer has become infected and some malware is partying its extensions onto your device.
4. Financial transactions that you didn’t make
One of the scariest and easiest-to-recognize signs that you have been hacked is by checking your bank statements. If you see financial transactions that you were not apart of it is possible that a hacker has compromised your card details or your login credentials to an online payment account such as PayPal, E-bay, or Amazon. It is a good idea to set up email or text message notifications on these type of websites or from your bank to notify you of certain transactions being made.
5. Your device has a ‘mind of it’s own”
Most of us have had at least one instance of a weird phone or computer glitch where our device starts going haywire. A lot of time this could just be that your device is catching up to the tasks it was having trouble running. However if you do notice that your device is doing weird things consistently or opening programs that you clearly didn’t open then it may be a sign that someone has compromised your device and is controlling it.
6. Device randomly restarts or shuts down
If you notice your device consistently shutting down or restarting it is possible that unauthorized applications have taken control of your device an are destabilizing your system. Occasionally your computer will restart or shutdown on its own due to your Operating System making updates, however, if it is happening much more than you expect then it might be a good idea to take action.
7. Significant number of pop-ups
Malware and viruses are known to throw a ton of pop-ups to your browser. We all know to stay away from the typical “Enter for a lucky prize drawing” scams, however you should stay away from anything that asks you to verify your account credentials when it has nothing to do with what you are working on. It’s a good idea to stay away from any pop-up for that matter, especially if it’s randomness doesn’t pertain to your current work.
8. Unfamiliar messages or emails
If Malware software or hackers have successfully gained access to any of your accounts it is common that they will send out messages trying to get information out of people in your contacts also. Make sure you are keeping a close eye on your sent emails and cell phone messages. If you notice anything out of the ordinary you can safely guess that a hacker has compromised your device.
9. Not able to login to your accounts
If you are not able to login to any of your accounts it is possible that a hacker has gained access and blocked you out by changing your password. You can counter this if you have security credentials set up however sometimes that is not the case. Your best bet is to reach out to the company in charge of your online account. They may be able to help you reset your credentials as long as you can verify your identity to them.
How to Recover from a Computer or Phone Hack
One of the quickest options to recover from a hacker or Malware being installed on your device is to run a premium Anti-Virus system cleaner on your infected device. These cleaners are usually pretty good at keeping up to date with the latest security threats and can clean out your computer when it notices anything peculiar. If this doesn’t seem to work you may want to reach out to your local computer experts.
For the more ‘Tech- Savvy’
There are more extreme cases, however, where you are infected with something that your Anti-Virus cannot catch. If this is the case and no matter how many times you run your Anti-Virus the device is still acting the same; you can attempt to restore your computer to a previous state before the issue occurred. Here, you can find an article on windows to help you through that process. Sometimes, if your computer does not create its own restore points and you have not created any manually it may be best to restore your computer to factory defaults. Talk to a computer expert in your area if all else fails.