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How to know if you have been hacked

Antivirus programs alone aren’t enough to protect you from the cyber-threats that exist in today’s world. Truth be told, antimalware scanners are laughably inaccurate when pitted against new exploits that are less than a day old. Sure, you’ve probably seen ‘heuristics’ labelled and highlighted in your antivirus software. The point of heuristics being that it is programmed and employed to monitor other program behavior, to catch sly, sneaky malware. This hasn’t deterred hackers however.

Virtual environments, increased network detection tracking, system monitoring to see any changes in processor or RAM usage, have all fallen prey to the hacking by malware and other intrusions. That’s not even counting the top 10 hackers (of all time!) who have been known to wreak havoc. Surprisingly, some have gone on to become an ethical hacker.

How to know if you have been hacked.

If you see the following as any symptoms as to why your computer is being weird with you, chances are you’ve been hacked and we’ll also show

1. Faux/fake antivirus banners.

These riddled computers during the turn of the millennium and even though this intrusion has taken a backseat these days compared to the modern hacking attempt, antivirus messages are a certain sign that your computer has been compromised. In drawing a parallel, this compares to infamous African Prince scam that conned plenty of unsuspecting, charitable people in its time.

Similarly, the fake antivirus message is designed to con you into thinking that your system is riddled with viruses. They then provide a link for you to reach a well-designed website selling antivirus software, where you’re asked to enter your billing information, which is then compromised as well.

2. Frequent popup adverts.

While these are plenty annoying to begin with, it is also a sign that your browser is likely to be compromised. Getting rid of unnecessary toolbars for your browsers will go a long way in solving, which leads us to;

3. Pointless browser toolbars.

You’ve seen these from the days of using Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. Stacked one upon the other are browser toolbars that give the impression that they’re designed and set-up to help. Here’s the reality. Unless you find the toolbar providing a useful function for you, from a reputable software maker such as Yahoo, Google etc, you’re much better off removing every toolbar that adds to the unnecessary clutter in your browser.

4. Changes in online passwords.

There’s two things to consider here. If there has been a change in the password with your online service without your consent and completely out of the blue, you’ve likely been hacked. Or, it could be the online service itself that has been hacked. Phishing scams are the cause of these problems, wherein the victim unwittingly enters sensitive information into a questionnaire or an authentic-looking email with a link.

5. Your task manager or antivirus software refuses to start.

This is a blatant security compromise. If you are unable to start or enable your antivirus software and a fundamental program such as Task Manager (enabled by Ctrl+Shift+Escape) refuses to start or worse, disappears – you’ve been hacked.

6. Your mouse pointer gets a life of its own.

It does not get more obvious than this. If you ever notice your mouse pointer moving on its own and making selections for you, it is beyond question that you’ve been hacked. Usually, hackers try to wait until you aren’t around by waiting to use your computer late at night, before proceeding to wreck havoc by trading your stocks or get into your online bank accounts and wire money away.

Sure-fire tips to help prevent hacking and what to do if you have been hacked.

  • Use a trusted anti malware program. There are plenty of software vendors offering excellent products which update on a daily basis to keep you up-to-scratch with your protection.
  • A good rule of thumb is to always engage in safe internet by ensuring that most pages are encrypted. This helps.
  • Never reuse your email password for any other website and never click on a clink you which you did not expect to receive in the first place. This is the golden rule.
  • If you’ve been hacked, the surest way of ensuring that you completely get rid of malicious programs, viruses and other bugs is to reformat the hard-drive and install your operating system.

Having your computer hacked is troublesome and annoying but it can be fixed. A combination of safe practices as mentioned above and generally avoiding links and emails that you do not expect to receive in the first place is a good habit. Be proactively safe. The threat is real and there are malicious hackers looking for that vulnerability. Being and staying on your guard is a good way to keep hackers, malware, viruses and other intrusions away.

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