They encompass a wide range of activities, but these can generally be divided into two categories: In English, it is specifically called cybercrime and aims to violate networks to promote other criminal activities (for example, cyberstalking, phishing and fraud or identity theft, copyright infringement); In this case, crimes that target computer devices (including viruses or DoS-denial-of-service attacks) are called computer crimes. Below we illustrate 12 signs of both categories that will make you understand that you have been hacked and how to act in the event of an intrusion into your device.
The 12 Signs That You Have Been Hacked
These are the golden age of ransomware (such as the famous Cryptolocker ), i.e., malware (malicious software) created to disrupt the activities of a computer, steal sensitive information or display unwanted advertisements to obtain a ransom in exchange for their decryption. If you’re lucky, some ransomware messages come from programs that don’t block your data (known as scareware); consequently, restarting your computer is enough to make it disappear. However, if, after rebooting, the same ransomware screen returns or you can’t access your data, there are a few actions you can take:
- Restore your data if it has been backed up previously;
- Access sites that may help you recover your files without paying the ransom due to their ability to figure out the shared secret encryption key or another way to decrypt the ransomware program.
However, security experts will advise you never to pay the ransom, primarily because it is illegal, and also, you could be prosecuted as a supporter.
Fake Antivirus Messages
In recent times they have been seen less but never go out of style: fake antivirus alerts (other than the antivirus program you are using) – are considered among the surest signs that your system has been attacked. Once the message has been displayed, the damage is done; consequently, it is too late to take action on the intrusion. How does it work? The fake scan, which always finds tons of “viruses,” is a lure to get you to buy their product. By clicking on the link provided, you land on a website (which looks safe) where you are asked for your credit card number and billing information, and the payment goes straight to the hackers’ pockets.
What to do? As soon as you notice the fake message, shut down your computer or start your computer system in safe mode, no network and try to uninstall the newly installed software (it can often be uninstalled like a regular program). In both cases, you should try to restore the system to a state before the intrusion. If successful, test the computer in normal mode and make sure the fake virus alerts are gone. Then run a full virus scan, often finding other unwanted components left behind.
Unwanted Browser Toolbars
This is a ubiquitous sign of misuse of your computer. Most browsers (from Google to Firefox) allow you to review installed and active toolbars, so remove those that have not been installed voluntarily and, in any case, even those you are unsure of. If the counterfeit toolbar is not listed or you can’t remove it quickly, you need to check if your browser has a reset option to default settings. If that still doesn’t work, you must follow the instructions for fake antivirus messages.
Redirected Internet Searches
Many hackers make a living by redirecting your browser to a link other than the one you want. Unfortunately, to date, many of the redirected internet searches are well hidden from the user through the use of additional proxies, so bogus results are never returned to alert the user.
Frequent Redemption Popups
This sign of violation is one of the most annoying. Your system has been compromised when you get random browser pop ups from websites that don’t usually generate them. Random popups are typically generated by one of the signals above. For example, you must eliminate fake toolbars or other programs to stop displaying malicious pop ups.
Friendship Requests Arrive On Social Media That You Have Not Sent
Sometimes you can receive friend requests on social media when you are already connected with that person. Immediately it is thought that the request has not been accepted, so it has been sent again, after which you notice that that person’s profile has no recognizable friends and does not feature any of the older posts.
Or the same problem occurs in reverse (i.e., you are sending new requests). Either way, the hacker checks your social media profile and creates a similar bogus second page, or you or a friend installed a bogus social media application. In this case, the first action is to warn mutual friends not to accept the request. Finally, contact the site to report this and change your authentication method.
The Online Password Is Not Working
If you are typing your password online correctly and it doesn’t work, you may be hacked. It is usually necessary to try again because sometimes sites have technical issues that cause the valid password not to be accepted for a short period. But if you realize that your current password is no longer working, a hacker has probably logged in for you and changed it to keep you out.
In this particular scenario, what happens is that the victim replied to a simple-looking, deceptive email message that allegedly belonged to the service where the password was changed. In this way, the hacker collects login information, logs in, changes the password (and other information to complicate recovery), and uses the service to steal money from the victim or the victim’s acquaintances (pretending to be the victim himself). The immediate action to take is to change your login credentials, and you could also consider using online services that provide two-factor authentication. It makes your account much more difficult to tamper with.
Unexpected Software Installations
Unwanted and unexpected software installations are a vital sign that your computer system has probably been hacked. Malware is mostly computer programs – Trojans and worms – that work by modifying other safety programs to hide better. Many free programs show all installed programs and allow you to disable them. What should be done in any case is to disable the unrecognized program and restart the PC.
The Mouse Moves By Itself Between Programs
You have been hacked if your mouse pointer moves by itself while making selections that work correctly. Mouse pointers often move randomly, usually due to hardware problems. However, if the movements involve correct choices to execute particular programs, the hackers are involved somehow.
Antimalware Software, Task Manager Or Registry Editor, Is Disabled And Cannot Be Restarted
This is a massive sign of intrusion and is quite harmful. If you notice that your antimalware software is disabled and you didn’t disable it, you have probably been attacked; especially if you try to start Task Manager or Registry Editor and they don’t start or start working and disappear.
The first thing to do is a complete reset because you don’t know exactly what happened. Suppose you want to do something less drastic. In that case, you can try running Autoruns or Process Explorer (or similar programs), which allow you to uninstall or eliminate the malicious software causing the problems.
Your Online Account Has No Money
Cybercriminals don’t usually steal a little money; they often like to transfer all or most of it to foreign currency or the bank. Usually, the problem stems from your computer getting compromised or responding to a scam from your favorite bank or stock trading company. Either way, the bad guys log into your account, change your contact information, and transfer large sums of money to themselves.
In most cases, you are in luck, as most financial institutions will replace the stolen funds (especially if they can stop the transaction before the damage is done). However, there have been many cases where the courts have ruled that it was the client’s responsibility not to be hacked, and it is up to the financial institution to decide whether to return the stolen money. To prevent this, you need to turn on transaction alerts that send text messages when something unusual occurs.
Many financial institutions allow you to set thresholds on transaction amounts, and if the threshold is exceeded or if you go to a foreign country, you will be notified. Unfortunately, the bad guys often restore the alerts or contact information before they steal your money. So make sure your financial or commercial institution sends alerts whenever your contact information or alert choices are changed.
Receiving Calls From Stores Regarding Non-Payment For Shipped Goods
In this case, the hackers compromised one of your accounts, made a purchase, and the latter shipped it to a place other than your home. The first action to be taken includes changing the login names and passwords (not just the ones related to the single compromised account). After that, you will need to call law enforcement, start a lawsuit, and monitor your credit. You will likely spend months trying to clear up all the bogus transactions committed in your name, but you should be able to reverse most, if not all.
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