Have I been hacked? How to know

081914-haveibeenhackedIs your computer acting strangely? Maybe you have a misbehaving mouse that seems to know what it’s doing. Or, your Internet connection is slowing. Perhaps there’s new software on your computer that you don’t remember installing.

We don’t want you to panic, but there’s a chance your machine has been compromised. How do you know? Look for these common signs that you’ve been hacked or have malware on your computer, and if you see any of them, call PNSolutions right away.

Something just isn’t right.

We know, this sounds vague, but if you’ve noticed files disappearing, programs not working, or new programs you don’t recognize, warning bells should go off. They should also ring if changes are made to your files – but not by you or another trusted user of the computer.

Passwords don’t work.

If your passwords suddenly don’t work – and you didn’t change them, be wary. This includes passwords for online services and websites as well as the password to login to your computer or access parts of your network.

Your antivirus is disabled.

There are very few reasons to disable your antivirus and antimalware software. Keep it running and up to date to ensure you’re protected. But, if you notice that it has been disabled and cannot be turned back on, that’s a red flag. You should also be on alert if your Task Manager or Registry Editor is disabled and can’t be opened.

Fake virus messages.

First: Don’t click on these! They’re a scam. Be familiar with your antivirus software so you know what its alerts look like so you know what is fake and what is legitimate. Fake messages will always promise an instant solution – for a price.

Random and frequent popups.

If you are suddenly getting more popups than usual when you browse the Internet, there’s a chance you’ve been hacked. This is especially true if you’re seeing these popups on reputable websites that don’t usually generate them.

Your mouse moves – without you.

It’s a fact of computing – sometimes your mouse goes wonky and seems uncontrollable. But if you’re sitting at your computer and your mouse is moving without you but making selections that aren’t random, be worried. Someone, somewhere is using your computer.

Redirected web searches.

If you’re searching online and your searches are always redirected somewhere you don’t want to go, but cautious. Try searching a few, different but related terms, and if the same websites always come up with no relevance to your search, chances are you’ve been compromised.

Unwanted browser toolbars.

There’s a chance you’ve been compromised if you suddenly see “helpful” toolbars on your web browser that you didn’t install – and don’t want. Remove them immediately and definitely don’t click on them.

Slow Internet connection.

If your normally speedy network or Internet connection is slowing or you see increased network activity, there’s a chance your computer has been compromised and is being used as a “zombie” computer in a larger scheme.

Money is missing.

If large sums of money are missing from your bank accounts – or you’re getting calls and bills for things you didn’t order – you’ve been the victim of hacking or malware. Contact your bank and credit cards immediately.

One or more of these applies to me – what now?

If you notice any of these things happening on your computer, don’t panic. Disconnect your computer from your network and the Internet, and restart it in Safe Mode. Run a scan with your antivirus software.

And no matter how minor or serious your problem is, PNSolutions is here to help. From annoying intrusions to major breaches, we can help you clean up the problem and get back to normal. Call us today to make sure your computer or network is secure before something happens.

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