Before we go in-depth on our main topic how do I know if my computer has been hacked? let’s have a brief introduction to it. Hacking isn’t a unique phenomenon and we are all aware of it with the increasing rate of advancements in the world of technology, the rate of cyber attacks is also increasing rapidly.
It is an estimate that there is a cyber attack made every 32 seconds. So, knowing at the right time if your computer has been hacked or is too much vulnerable to threats is really important. I want you to follow along till the end of this article carefully in order to get to know about it in detail.
1. Who are the persons that are involved in hacking?
We often hear different names associated with the same type of job and in the case of hacking there are hackers, crackers, and cybercriminals. Hackers are usually the persons who are involved in online dangerous activities like mischief and stealing.
Hackers are available today in large numbers and they are present in the form of small groups to large groups. They are doing this for different purposes and the main reason among them is money.
There are about 95% of hackers that aren’t that much skilled and they usually rely on the other 5% of the hackers that are skilled ones and are really dangerous.
Mostly this 95% are buying different kits from the other 5% who are selling them as a service which is used solely for the purpose of hacking. These types of deals and things are mostly done on the dark web and usually, they are avoided at the surface web.
2. How to know if your computer has been hacked?
2.1 Different ways in which a computer can be hacked
In order to know if your computer is hacked or not, first of all, it is necessary to know in which ways a hacker can hack your computer, and for this purpose, I’m not going to explain all of those ways but I’ll be sharing with you a list of almost all such possible ways and they are as follows:
- Macro Viruses
- Stealth Viruses
- Polymorphic Viruses
- Self-Garbling Viruses
- Bots and Zombies
- Firmware Rootkits
- Key Loggers
- Trojan Horses
- Remote Access Tools(RAT)
- Drive-by Attacks
- Potentially Unwanted Programs(PUP)
- Spamming and Doxing
- Social Engineering
- CPU Hijackers
- Use of Exploit Kit
2.2 How do I know if my computer has been hacked?
There are certain signs that can point out the fact that your computer has been hacked and such signs are of great importance and should be taken seriously which we often don’t see and people usually opt to ignore such signs. Some of such signs are enlisted below:
- Frequent pop-up windows that open without your consent and you cannot stop them from opening again and again.
- Pages that open automatically and take you to unusual sites and they can encourage you to download different types of software and some of them may start downloading a software even without your consent.
- When you see a different homepage in your browser that you didn’t choose or you find different toolbars and extensions without your consent.
- After checking your email account, you notice suspicious activity like sending a lot of emails from your account that you aren’t aware of or you have received a lot of unusual emails that are most probably spammy.
- You notice that your computer has remarkably slow performance then before.
- Another sign that should be taken seriously is the frequent crashing of different apps or showing up of different errors while running different apps which previously used to run fine.
- If you notice that whenever you start your computer there are different programs that run(mostly run and disappear) which you didn’t even installed yourself.
- Another suspicious activity that might be of great concern and could be a sign that your computer is hacked is that password of your computer is changing automatically.
- If you notice that your hard drives is encrypted without your consent and you don’t know what the key or password is than it is most probably a sign that your computer is hacked.
3. What is the cure once your computer is hacked?
While talking about the cure for a hacked PC, things get a little difficult, and here I’ll divide the cure into two ways and I’ll discuss them one by one.
3.1 Things to do after your computer is hacked
- Once it is known to you that your computer is hacked you should try to know that which of the above discussed ways is used by the hacker to hack into your computer and once you get to know about it then you can look for remedies online over the internet and most probably you’ll be able to find the solution.
- If you fail to find a proper solution then you should check your important files first if they are damaged by the hacker or not and you should also check your important accounts details if they are stolen or modified by the hacker or not. If they are safe then the first thing that you need to do is to move those important files to a safer place and remove them from the PC.
- If some of the files are not safe then you should check all of them one by one and those which are yet safe you should move them immediately to a safer place. If your computer is connected to the internet then don’t forget to disconnect it in the first possible instance.
- An important thing that one should keep in mind is that the data that is once stolen or modified or is destroyed can’t be protected or retrieved in most of the cases then in such a case one should better try to secure rest of the data and try to secure the data that is modified by the hacker e.g. by changing the passwords if it is possible.
- Once you are sure about your data that it is secured at a safe place then the first thing that I recommend you to do is to wipe all the data from your hard drive and install a fresh operating system in your computer.
3.2 Taking Preventive Measures is the best cure
- It is much better to take proper preventive measures in order to protect our computer from different cyber attacks and make it less vulnerable to threats. You can do so by installing advanced Antivirus programs or by taking proper precautionary measures especially while surfing the internet.
- In the latest version of Windows like Windows 10 & 11, and Mac OS there are a lot of advanced security measures that protect our computer from such attacks and we should keep them active all the time in order to make our computer less vulnerable to such threats and attacks.
- Another important thing that I’d suggest here is that we should keep our computer patched against different cyber attacks that are not even detected by antiviruses and such type of security patches could be easily availed online.
Once your computer is hacked it is difficult for you to protect your data and if it is once stolen or damaged then it is almost impossible to recover it. So the best way is to be prepared for any of the cyber attacks and one should take all the preventive measures in advance in order to keep your data secure and protected.
Sometimes you can know if your computer is hacked or not by different signs but sometimes we don’t even notice and all our data is stolen or lost and when we get to know about it we can do almost nothing about it.
So, prevention is the best cure and it would be better if a proper security policy or a strategy is framed and deployed in order to protect our data from any threats.
Also, Let me know in the comment section what do you think about all the stuff that I’ve discussed in this article?