Every day, it seems that new viruses, worms, and other forms of malware crop up by the dozens. Once upon a time, these issues only affected PCs, but times have changed and cybercriminals have grown far savvier. These days, no matter what computer system you use – Windows, Mac, Linux or Chrome – you can get hacked.
When your computer gets hacked, it ultimately leaves the device, your personal and financial information and your passwords vulnerable. It can turn your life upside down. However, it’s important to recognize some of the most common signs of being hacked. Knowing means that you can take action to recover your computer and precious data. These are three signs that your computer has been hacked.
You’ve Gotten a Ransomware Message
One of the most prominent telltale signs that your computer has been hacked is that you suddenly receive a ransomware message. That message suddenly appears on your screen and states that your data has been encrypted and you can only get it back if you pay for it. Ransomware attacks have swiftly gained ground over the past few years. Many have fallen victim to this type of hacking and billions of dollars have been lost. Usually, businesses and other establishments have been attacked, but ransomware can affect anyone.
Sadly, many people who are victims of this type of hacking are in a vulnerable position and end up paying the hacker a substantial amount of money to get back their data. However, according to Connectwise, the 2022 cyber threat report states that even if victims pay to recover their data after a ransomware attack, they suffer many days of downtime and must take numerous steps beforehand.
You See Software Randomly Install
Random, unexpected software suddenly installing on your computer indicates that you’ve been hacked. While in the past, viruses would install and hide while modifying programs on a computer, it isn’t as subtle now. Software that unexpectedly installs is usually a worm or Trojan horse.
Instead, the hacker tries to pass the software as legitimate, which can initially fool even the savviest computer user. So always have your guard up and read the license agreement when installing software. If additional software is mentioned as something included, you should opt out of that program.
You’ve Gotten a Fake Antivirus Message
Another common sign of your computer being hacked is when you suddenly get a fake antivirus message. This usually manifests as a popup that claims to be a product scanning your device for malware. Unfortunately, many people have encountered this on their computers over the years. The message claims to have found several malware infections on your computer.
However, in reality, a hacker has gained access to your computer as the popup locks your browser. In some cases, if you quickly close the tab and restart your browser, you might be okay.
While you can’t always prevent all attacks from happening, prevention is still the best defense you have against hacking. Keep all of your antivirus and anti-malware software up to date and running and regularly scan your computer.