In the aftermath of the discovery of the Heartbleed bug it would be fair to say that everyone is on high alert to the risk of being hacked at the moment.
Especially after it emerged that the security flaw in the popular open-source encryption software OpenSSL may have been exposing users’ personal information and passwords to hackers for the past two years.
Despite many of the large technology firms, including Facebook and Google, having patched the vulnerability, the threat of being hacked is still very real. And while preventative measures like adopting stronger passwords, changing passwords regularly and using secure data transfer are always the first port of call for tightening security, identifying a hack is also vital.
The quicker you are able to diagnose a hack the quicker you are able to deal address the problem. With that in mind here are 10 sure signs you’ve been hacked and what to do next…
1. Fake antivirus messages
One of the most common signs you’ve been hacked is the fake antivirus warning message. By the time you see it though your computer has most likely already been compromised. The antivirus message is just to get you to buy their product thus completing the hack by getting your billing information. Power down as soon as you see one, then restart and uninstall the fake software or restore computer back to state before compromise.
2. Your email contacts start receiving fake emails from your mailbox
A common tactic for malware programs is to go through your email address book and send malicious emails to everyone on it. With all the information we put on the net and permissions we afford apps nowadays hackers can just pull your email contacts from social media sites. If this is the case your bogus emails won’t have your email address as sender just your name.
3. Unwanted browser toolbars
This is when your browser has multiple new toolbars and is often a result of downloading free software. Unless toolbars are from a well-known vendor then dump them. Reset browser back to default settings or just remove any toolbars you are unsure about.
4. Redirected Internet searches
The dark arts of SEO means hackers can get paid for getting your click’s to appear on someone else’s website, just not the website you intended on visiting. The malware is able to keep these redirects well hidden through use of additional proxies, so the fake results are never returned to alert the user. This is usually done through fake toolbars so getting rid of them will go a long way to solving the problem.
5. Random pop ups
Getting random and frequent pop ups from websites that don’t usually have pop ups is one of the more frustrating signs you’ve been hacked. Check for any bogus antivirus software or toolbars, uninstall them and then reboot your computer. Finish by running an antivirus scan.
6. Your mouse moves outside of your control
Your mouse pointer might move randomly because of hardware problems but if it starts moving correctly and making selections outside of your control then it’s in the hands of hackers. In this case a hacker has taken control of your computer and can remotely access anything they want to. Disable your Internet connection, shut down your computer and seek expert help.
7. Random software installs
Malware programs nowadays are usually Trojans and worms that install themselves like legitimate programs. These unwanted programs are often legally installed by other programs so be sure to read your license agreement when installing new software. You can also find software that lets you see all your installed programs and disable them individually.
8. Your online passwords change
You go to login to your usual online services and find the passwords have been changed. This is often as a result of responding to an authentic-looking phish email asking you to provide login details. Contact the online service to report the hack and change any of your other online accounts that use the same password.
9. Spike in outbound DNS traffic
An increase in outbound DNS traffic is a sure sign that your network has been added to network of infected botnets used by hackers to locate command and control servers. Monitor your DNS traffic.
10. Bogus transactions on your account
Money is missing from your account, stores are getting in touch about nonpayment of shipped goods and unauthorised transactions appear on your statement, this means the hackers have gained access to your money. Cancel any credit and debit cards and call the police.
Author: Maytech is an ISO 27001 certified cloud platform provider that specialises in 100% secure data transfer anywhere in the world. To find out more visit www.maytech.net.