4 Telltale Signs You’ve been Hacked

security-alertLet’s face it: nowadays, having antivirus software successfully installed in the system doesn’t safeguard you against the tech ‘evil’. Unfortunately, you can’t rest assured your website and important data will be protected against hackers’ attacks: they’ve become so savvy and nimble that can break into almost all the antivirus ‘shields’. The ill willed, for instance, can modify a few bytes and you’ll not recognize a formerly recognized malware program.

For this reason, you should always be on your guard and attentive to any subtle sign of a malicious action. In this post, we’ve compiled 4 alarming signals indicating that you might have been attacked. However, first off, keep in mind that in all the cases, ‘the default’ recommendation is to restore your system from scratch by either formatting all the programs and data or simply clicking on Restore button. (Also, remember that you can’t fully trust a compromised device again. Sad but true).

Sign N1: New (unwanted) browser toolbars

This is perhaps the most common sign of being hacked. In this case, your browser suddenly shows a few new toolbars with titles that are supposed to help you. Instead, the vendor seems suspicious and untrustworthy, which makes you doubt ‘the good intentions’ of the toolbars. So, if the vendor is a reliable one, you can regain your peace of mind and continue working, otherwise, just dump the sham toolbar. Look out for the solution to the issue on your browser. The majority of browsers enable you to reconsider the installed toolbars, so you should simply remove the one you don’t want to install. Another valuable tip is to read the licensing agreement (Admit it: you’ve hardly ever done it, have you?). The thing is that the toolbar installs are usually mentioned in the licensing agreements and reading them will allow you to swiftly get rid of the problem.

Sign N2. Your web searches are redirected

Do you know how most hackers make their living? They simply redirect your browser somewhere far from your desired ‘destination’. Why? A hacker is paid by making your clicks to appear on a different website, and usually they don’t even know that the clicks to their website resulted from illegal actions.

Unluckily, the majority of the searches redirected in such a way are concealed from the user through extra additional proxies, so the fake results don’t return to alert the user.

If you’ve detected the problem, all you can do is again get rid of the sham toolbars and programs and from that moment on keep your eye on such redirection cases.

Sign N3. Bogus antivirus messages

Sham antivirus warning messages are yet another sign that your system has been attacked. The trickiest thing is that most people don’t understand by the time they notice the bogus antivirus warning, nothing can actually be done to prevent the damage: your system has already been compromised.

What you can do is shut down your computer once you saw the bogus antivirus warning message. Of course, if you know how your legitimate antivirus software’s warning looks like in the first place. Be quick – save all the changes and power off your device as soon as possible. Then reboot the computer in Safe Mode; afterwards, uninstall the new software, test the computer in a regular mode and make sure the bogus messages are removed. Complete the ‘healing process’ with a complete antivirus scan to eliminate the undesirable ‘remnants’ of the virus.

Sign N4. Unexpected (and undesirable) software installs

If you’ve noticed an unwanted and unexpected computer program, beware: it’s a huge sign that something is wrong with your system.

A solution? Again- read your license agreements to figure out what are the legal installs and which are not. What you can also do is download one of the few free programs that show you all your installed programs enabling to select the unwanted ones to disable. This begs a question: what is a legitimate program and what is not? Doubting what to select? Just disable the unrecognized software, reboot the computer, and re-enable it only if some key functionality is no longer working.

Of course, this list of the malicious actions against your system is not exhaustive. Hackers are busy designing more and more sophisticated ways of compromising computers and making money on it. To avoid or prevent any illegal attempt of hacking your system, simply follow the guidelines, read the licensing agreement and beware of unwanted toolbars and unexpected software installs on your computer. Good luck in your endeavors against the tech ‘evil’!

Have you ever been attacked in the ways described above? How have you handled the problem? Feel free to share with your experience on the comment section below.

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