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How to Identify if You Have Been Hacked

12 Signs Your System is Under Attack

Report Cyber Crimes to NR3C

Hacking into computers and cell phone devices through spam emails, codes or websites is pretty common these days. This article will tell you all the signs that can help identify if you have been hacked.  

The threat of cybercriminals or hackers seeping into your personal information is what makes us all equally vulnerable. Some, a lot more than the others. It can be hard to identify if you have been hacked when you are not aware of the tricks used by these malicious thieves. However, if you know some basic signs, you can tell almost easily if your system has been compromised 

How to Tell if You have Been Hacked 

In a world connected by a giant web of the internet, online presence is almost irresistible if not unavoidable. When you put out your most vulnerable and most real personal information online, the threat of it being snatched by hackers and scammers is almost constant. Your social media accounts, your transaction history and even the places you shop from can come under attack at any time if one is not vigilant.

But the hackers are more cunning than even the most vigilant of us can be. So, how do you tell if an infiltrator has entered your account and is accessing everything you do without you having even the slightest clue?  

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Given below are 12 ways you can identify if you have been hacked and your online security is compromised. 

1. Spam Antivirus Messages 

If you receive antivirus messages on your system that your device is under threat, it is one of the surest signs that tells that you have been hacked. Sadly, by the time people start receiving such messages, the hackers have already gotten in and there is not so much you can do.

Even if you try to cancel the spread of the virus by using your antivirus software, it does not do much. Such antivirus messages make use of the unpatched software to completely deplete the system.  

2. Fake Browser Toolbars

Another sign that is very common among hacked devices is the presence of an unwanted or spam toolbar in your browser. You will see different new toolbars with different names that indicate that the tools are very handy. If you have not installed such tools on your browser, do not click on those toolbars unless they are from a well-known source. Dump the toolbar.  

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3. Automatically Redirected Searches 

There are many hacking companies or spam software that rely on pay-per-click (PPC) for their growth. If you open a website that is automatically redirecting you to another webpage that is not where you want to go, then that site might contain many such hacking tools.

These hackers make their living by getting paid with each click on an unwanted website. Often, these pages contain click baits as well to intrigue you to click on them and as a result introduce malware into your system.  

4. Random Recurring Pop-ups  

One of the most annoying signs that assures that there is an intruder in your device is the irritatingly frequent pop-ups. When you start receiving malicious pop-ups that you don’t normally receive while using a website, know that your system has been hacked.

Oftentimes, popular websites like YouTube also contain pop-ups or ads that play automatically but these can be skipped and are from well-known brands. They are merely using a platform for their promotion and mean no harm to your device.

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You need not worry about them as you will only receive them while you are on that website and even these ads can be blocked by using an extension if you find them irritating.  

computer hacking5. Your Email Account Sends Fake Emails to Your Contacts 

Even though this is not a very ideal scenario, it is comparatively safer than many. If your friends receive bogus emails from your email address, it is quite possible that someone is trying to hack into your contact list through your email id and luring others into the scam as well.

Such emails contain different click baits as well such as the ‘good news that your friend has won a lottery and must provide their details for the next step’.

Rest assured that such emails are only baits meant to lure in the person in order to get their details and then hack into their system. These emails were high on the rise a decade ago where people did not have much awareness about these tactics and fell prey to these scenarios.

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In case you find yourself in such a scenario, there is not much to worry about but inform your friends about the scam to ensure their safety. 

6. All Your Online Passwords Change Suddenly  

If you have not recently changed your online passwords and you find out that one or more of your passwords have been changed all of a sudden, there is a solid chance your account or even your device has been hacked.

In circumstances like these, you most likely would have received a code or an OTP asking you to send it back to them. If you oblige to such responses, then they will have all the authority to change your account password and log you out from accessing it.

The hackers will then have all your log-in information, your recently changed passwords, and other information that will leave you with very thin chances of recovery. If it’s your Google account that has been compromised, then they can access all your media including your pictures from there as well as all the data is mostly linked to your Google account.  

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7. Unpredicted Installation of Software 

Unexpected software that you did not intend to install on your computer but somehow are there on your device now is a clear indication that you have been hacked. Most malware these days are like worms that install themselves hitched on another software.

When you install a software, you might not know but it may contain some Trojans that take a piggyback ride on the software program in order to better hide and then, later on, are installed in your system.

It is important that while installing any software, you read the license agreements carefully to avoid such a situation.  

8. Your Mouse Starts Moving Automatically and Makes Precise Selections 

If you experience your cursor moving on its own, it may be due to some hardware issue in your device but if the movements are deliberate and your mouse makes clear selections on its own, then it is quite evident that you have been hacked.

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However, it is unlikely that the hackers will do that while you are online. Most hackers wait for idle situations when the computer is not being used to make such moves in order to avoid discovery.  

9. Your Antivirus Software Has Been Disabled on its Own 

In case you try to start your antivirus software and it refuses to respond, there is a chance you have been hacked. To make sure, try to start your Task Manager or Registry Editor as well. If both do not respond or respond in a reduced state then it is most likely the doing of a malware.  

10. Your Money Keeps Disappearing from Your Bank Account 

When your accounts are hacked, the motive behind these hackings is in most cases stealing. When you have been hacked, the online thieves won’t steal a small amount of money. They will most likely make big transactions or transfers to foreign accounts that are hard to trace.

In case your money keeps disappearing or a load of money disappears in a single shot, contact your bank to tally the situation and know that you have been hacked.  

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11. You Get Calls Concerning Non-payment of Shipped Goods 

Most of the time when hackers choose not to make big transactions, they make online purchases using your personal information. The payment method will most likely contain your credit card information and the goods are shipped to another address (most likely the hackers).

These shipments are made in large amounts and as the transactions push through, your funds will not be sufficient enough to make the payments. As a result, you will face the consequences.  

12. Your Personal Data Gets Leaked 

The most common sign of hacking these days is the leaking of confidential data from a person’s device. The hackers can access your media, calls, contacts, and even your message conversations.

If they find anything that is valuable to them and threatening to you, they may leak such information either to blackmail you or defame you. In a scenario like this, it is quite clear that your data leakage is due to a hacking episode.  

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How to Stay Safe? 

  • The best way to ensure safety is to keep an eye out for data breaches.  
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone and avoid saving your personal information online.
  • Steer clear of malwares and junk mails that offer the function of clickbait.  
  • Regularly perform virus scans and clear your cookies from the cache.  
  • If your system has already been compromised, restore it to a good state.  
  • In any case, a system that has been hacked and restored should not be completely trusted again.  
     

 

 

 

Written by Qurat-ul-Ain