Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Signs you’ve been hacked

Today, antivirus software gives you peace of mind from scammers.  Although, anti-malware scans can be inaccurate.  So how are we supposed to know if we are hacked?

System monitoring and network traffic detection can help monitor malware, but may often fail on a regular basis.

In this blog, I will give you the signs to look out for, to know if you’ve been hacked.  Also, instructions on what needs to be done after you’ve found out your system has been compromised.

Reformatting your computer and restoring all the programs and its data is the old way of taking care of this problem.  Today, depending on your operating system, it might mean to simply click on a Restore button.
No matter what, a compromised computer can never be fully trusted again.

Here are a list of steps to take if your system has been infected:

Fake antivirus message

Fake antivirus warning messages are the surest signs that your system has been compromised.  But how are you supposed to know what messages are real or fake?

By the time people see the “Virus Detection” message, damage has already been done.  If you click the No or Cancel to stop the fake virus scan, it may likely be too late.


Your system has most probably been compromised.  The malicious software has already made use of unpatched software.

Malicious programs put out an “antivirus warning” because the fake scan is a lure you to buy their product.  By clicking on the links, you are more involved in the process of “fixing” the problem.  Then for a small fee, the antivirus software will clean your system resulting in your credit card number put in the hands of cyber criminals.

What to do:  As soon as you notice the antivirus warning, power down your computer.  Boot your computer system in Safe Mode, No Networking and try to uninstall the newly installed software.  Then restore your system.

Unwanted browser toolbars


This is one of the most common signs of exploitation.  If you experience a sudden change with multiple toolbars in your browser your computer may be infected.

What to do:  Remove any toolbars you don’t need and don’t remember installing.  Try and reset your browser back to its default settings.  If the toolbar didn’t show a Licensing Agreement, then it is most likely malicious.

Redirected Internet searches

Hackers will redirect your browser to a site that you didn’t intend on going to.  They get paid for the clicks to the malicious re-directed websites.

If you go to an Internet search engine and type in common words related to what you are looking for, look to see if you get the same results.  Many times the redirected Internet searches are well hidden from the user through proxies.  The bogus results are never returned to alert the user.  Usually if you have unwanted toolbar issues then you also have redirect problems.

What to do:  Remove the bogus toolbars and programs is usually enough to get rid of the malicious redirection.

Frequent random popups


Companies pay search engines to track your searches in order to tailor advertisements to your interests.  But if you’re getting random browser pop-ups from websites that don’t normally generate them, or of products that you’ve never looked at before, your system has probably been compromised.

What to do:  Random popups are also from bogus toolbars.  Uninstall the toolbars and restore your system back to its default settings.

Your friends receive fake emails from your email account

Even though this is a common problem, it is a security risk.  Malicious emails sent to friends from your address book compromises your account and all your friends’ accounts.

What to do:  Run a complete antivirus scan and change your email password.  Also you should contact your friends in your address book and notify them of the situation.

Have you seen these signs of a compromised computer?  Did you uninstall the malicious programs or reset your system to its default settings?  Let us know your experience below!

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11 sure signs you’ve been hacked – TechWorld

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