How can you tell if you’re computer has been compromised or “hacked”? For both Mac and PC users, here are some tell-tale signs. If any of these seem familiar, you’re computer may already be compromised– it’s a great time to grab your FixMeStick and run a scan.
If you receive a pop-up from “Microsoft”, or an anti-virus program that you do not have installed on your computer already, telling you that your computer is “at risk” or “infected” it’s probably not legitimate. Be sure to exercise a good deal of caution and skepticism– Microsoft will not contact you directly about specific security threats. If you receive an aggressive pop-up, even clicking “exit” or “cancel” may be a trap. Turn off the computer immediately by holding down the power button for a full ten seconds– better safe than sorry!
2) New programs or files appeared on your computer.
If you are the only user on your computer, there is no reason why files or programs should appear if you didn’t install them. It’s a good idea to be aware of exactly what you have on your computer– and why. If you’re not using a program, or if it didn’t work the way you thought, it’s not a bad idea to uninstall it. Unwanted browser toolbars are also a red flag.
If your password is suddenly not working, this is an indication you may have been hacked. We’re talking about online passwords, such as the ones you use for social media or email, and your local computer password.
4) You start losing control
Some viruses can redirect you when trying to access websites. Double check that you have the web address typed in correctly. If so, you should be able to access the website in question. Getting re-routed is a classic sign you’ve been hacked.
Make a habit of checking your “Sent” folder in your email. There may be evidence of unusual emails being sent from your account. You can also check if your email has been compromised by using the website, Have I Been Pwned which uses indicators of compromise, namely the appearance of your email address on publicly disclosed data dumping websites.
6) Antivirus or Firewalls have been disabled and can’t be restarted
If you have an antivirus program and it’s behaving strangely– as in starting and then disappearing, or just not starting at all– you’re computer has probably been compromised.
All of these indicate that…it’s the perfect time to run a FixMeStick scan!