As we wind up 2018, it is important to note that within the first half of this year, there were a least 4.5 billion data records compromised across the globe. That essentially means, there are a lot of people out there who have been hacked.
Interestingly, some people don’t even know they have been hacked, which presents a rather more dangerous situation. As the hacker could keep long-term tabs on the users and do more damage without any hurry since they have not been detected.
As a user of any electronic device with the ability of accessing the internet and/or exchanging information with another device. It is recommended you always have security best practices in mind in addition to using at least an antivirus program and even a VPN if possible. Make sure the antivirus is constantly updated and receives patches.
However, despite our very best attempts to keep our devices and ourselves secure, hackers are also working around the clock to find new exploits and opportunities for attacks. Sometimes, despite the security best practices and software programs, we do get hacked. In this article, we are going to look at some of the tell-tale signs of hacking. Some are obvious, while some are stealthy.
#1 – Messages demanding Ransom
This is perhaps the most obvious sign of hacking in our list. Ransomware such as WannaCry usually install malware onto your device and blocks you from accessing certain data and/or features. They display a message demanding for payment so that access can be restored.
Your best defense against ransomware is installing an antivirus program with anti-ransonmware protection. However, that doesn’t always work, so it is recommended you regularly backup your computer.
That way, should you get a ransomware attack, you can easily format the device and get the data from your backup.
#2 – You find your Antivirus program disabled
There are some stealthy hack competent enough to sneak up onto the very program designed to be on the lookout for them. Such attackers will disable your antivirus program so that they can infiltrate your device without being blocked and not raising any alarms.
As a user, you can detect your device might have been stealthily hacked when you see the antivirus software running in your system automatically disabled. Sometimes, the Task Manager on your computer also starts behaving strangely.
In such cases, it is advisable you stop using the device immediately until you get the antivirus program back up once again. Should you continue using the device with the ‘defenses down’ it is likely you will be making the hacker’s work easier by opening more doors for them. If they’re going to hack you, at least let them figure out by themselves how to access more data, instead of you helping them out.
In such instances, it is recommended you boot the device in Safe Mode, which might give you the chance to delete affected files and programs.
#3 – Your Device is always running Slow
This form of attack is subtle and is deliberately hidden to enable the hacker to run their activities in the background. The reason why your device appears to be running slowly is because its resources are being used to run many tasks in the background — tasks, which you are not aware. It is quite common with crypto jacking form of attacks.
You can double check this by looking at your internet traffic report. If you find that you have been using more bandwidth compared to your demand, it is possible someone else was stealthily accessing your computer the same time you were using it. And since the computer was running many programs concurrently, it became slow to execute some tasks.
#4 – Unauthorized Transactions
When you look at your account history, it could be any account from a bank account to a Netflix account, you should be aware of all the activities recorded therein. If you find any activity ,you have no recollection of, and you ascertain you did not authorize. The only other possible explanation is that you have been hacked, and the hacker has been doing transactions or activities on your account without your knowledge.
The first thing you should do is to change the account password and alert the company of the breach.
#5 – Password no longer working
You may find an online account no longer accepts your password, and keeps giving your ‘wrong username or password’ error. This form of attack is particularly common with phishing attackers who use social engineering in their fake emails (sent using realistic-looking emails from reputable companies) to get you to give them your private usernams, PINS, and passwords to your accounts.
With that information in hand, a hacker will quickly change the login credentials to your account, thus locking you out. While they continue using the account for their own gain. Should you find you no longer can access an account, and you are certain you did not change the password. It is recommended you reach out to the company in question immediately. It could be via phone call, on their website, social media account, or by email. The said company will block the account, until such a time the authentic user is able to authenticate their identity.
#6 – Suspicious Invitations on Social Media
Getting a friend request on social media is itself not an unusual thing. However, be weary when you get a request from someone who is already in your friends’ list. As it could mean, that given friend might already been hacked, or someone is impersonating them.
The first action you should take is to contact the given friend, perhaps over a phone call, Skype, or pay them a visit in person, and have them explain why they are sending another friend request, when you are already connected. It is also recommended that you utilize most (if not all) of the security measures set by the given social media platform.