Cyber attacks are an unfortunate but prevalent problem in our society. A new attack happens every 39 seconds. You don’t know when and where a cyber attack can occur, making it challenging to prevent them from happening.
Sometimes it can be obvious when your computer is hacked. However, hackers are becoming more sophisticated. They’ve developed ways to infiltrate your private data and computer systems without you realizing it.
This guide will discuss the top six signs that your computer has gotten hacked. We’ll talk about how to stop and prevent hackers once they’ve invaded your computer.
1. There Are Unusual Apps on Your Computer
There might be new files and programs on your computer that you don’t remember downloading. Some red flags to look for include:
- A new toolbar that you didn’t install
- Files on your desktop
- Weird names in your activity monitor or taskbar
These types of apps and programs that appear on your computer are called potentially unwanted applications (PUA). Another term for them is potentially unwanted programs (PUP).
These programs and apps are designed for some of the following activities:
- Display ads
- Monitor your traffic
- Deliver malware
- Redirect your searches
- Monitor your keystrokes
The most common way people get PUPs on their computers or phones is via software bundles, usually free ones. You must review the license agreement before you download the software. It’ll say whether the installer will download multiple programs.
2. You Get a Ransomware Message
A ransomware message is a pop-up that takes over your entire computer screen. You can’t close it or click on anything else.
The message will tell you that your computer’s data is encrypted. It also says that you’ll have to pay a fine to unlock your computer.
This is one of the most common types of cyber attacks. Hackers infect your PC with dangerous ransomware that’s hard to get rid of.
Ransomware makes a lot of money for computer hackers. They target these types of people:
- Police stations
- Government entities
Around 32% of people affected by this infection pay the ransom. However, they usually get only 65% of their computer’s data back. Getting one of these messages is an obvious sign that you’ve been hacked.
3. Your Contacts Receive Strange Messages
Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram have made it easier for hackers to compromise your devices and spread malware. They can also use your devices to infect everyone you’re connected with. Email is a slow way to infect others with malware, but it’s a method hackers still utilize.
For example, hackers can use your Facebook account to send messages to people in your friends list. An example message would be a video link along with a message that said something like “is this you?”
When the recipient clicks on the link, they’re redirected to a fake Facebook page. The page asks them to confirm their account with their password. That’s how hackers can access your social media accounts and lock them down.
If your friends and family are telling you that they’re getting strange messages from you, your computer might be hacked. Look in your sent folders to see if you find messages and emails you didn’t send. Make sure all of your accounts are secured with two-factor authentication.
4. Your Antivirus Software Isn’t Working
Your security tools getting disabled is a huge red flag. You might also notice that they’re not working as they should. This can include:
- Failing to run a scan
- Automatically shutting down
- Not starting
Most people don’t notice that their antivirus software isn’t working if they don’t routinely run scans. You also shouldn’t ignore early signs that your software is notifying you of. This could include the program telling you there are suspicious files on your computer.
You’ll also want to be mindful of pop-ups that occur that look like your antivirus software but isn’t. Fake programs and webpages will try to look like an antivirus program, telling you that you’re infected.
One thing to keep in mind for your online security is that your antivirus software won’t use a webpage to tell you that your computer is compromised. The software has its way to notify you of hackers.
5. Your Computer Is Running Slowly
A computer that runs slowly and constantly crashes is a common sign that you’ve gotten hacked. Unfortunately, many people think that bad WiFi connections or old computers cause these issues. These types of issues take up a lot of your computer’s bandwidth:
- Remote control software
- Malicious scripts
Since they take up so much of your computer’s resources, there are not enough left to efficiently run your programs. You’ll experience some of the following symptoms:
- Programs randomly crashing
- Slow software
- Online games and videos buffering
- Media freezing
- Slow internet loading times
You can use your Task Manager to see how many CPUs (central processing units) each program is using. For example, an idle computer with no programs running should utilize 10% of your CPUs. A video game can take up to 50% of CPUs.
It’s a major red flag if your computer is using over 90% of CPUs.
6. You Get Random Pop-Ups
Pop-ups can be very annoying, but they could signify a larger problem. You could notice notifications from services that you don’t normally. These services could include:
- PayPal transactions
- Amazon AWG tracking numbers
- Apple offers
- Adult content
PUPs and PUAs typically cause these types of pop-ups. Delete any problematic toolbars and ensure your computer virus software is active.
Contact Professionals if Your Computer Is Hacked
You shouldn’t wait to fix the issue if you think your computer is hacked. A professional computer and device repair company will know how to restore your computer. Failing to act promptly if your computer is acting strange could result in catastrophic problems.
Whether you need help preventing hackers or need game console repairs, Fruit Fixed is here to help. Contact us today to learn about our services in Carytown and the surrounding areas.