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Signs You’ve Been Hacked and How to Prevent Hacking

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Hackers keep evolving their approaches, so it’s crucial to stay on top of things by establishing adequate security measures. Installing a recent antivirus version using strong passwords and reliable internet providers can reduce the likelihood of an attack. It's still possible to suffer a breach, whether through your smartphone, computer, or online accounts.

3 Obvious Signs You’ve Been Hacked

Hacking signs can be obvious, but some are subtle, and others may not adequately suggest a breach. Obvious signs undoubtedly indicate that your computer/phone has been hacked and require immediate response to prevent further damage. Here are three obvious signs you’ve been hacked and how to fight back:

1.    You Receive a Ransomware Message/Threat

If you receive a ransomware message, it's a sure sign you've been hacked and need to deploy your risk-mitigation strategies immediately. Ransomware messages come in two primary forms. The hacker may take over your computer screen, encrypt all data, and request a ransom for the password. This attack can result in massive downtimes, forcing you to pay the ransom to regain normal activity.

In other cases, the hacker gathers all information they need to leverage a ransom. It could be confidential secrets or compromising evidence. The hacker will threaten to expose such information to receive a ransom. These attacks are rare but can result in manipulation, panic, and low productivity. A ransom message is a nightmare for anyone and can take time to recover from.

What to Do

The best protection from ransomware is offline backups inaccessible to hackers. Ransomware requests mean your existing system is compromised, and the only way back is by paying the ransom. You can attempt to crack the codes and passwords, but such attempts would require time with no guarantee of success.

The hacker may have also gained access to your data and could corrupt it further.

You can install everything from the backup if you have a sound backup strategy with safe off-site backups. Hackers are getting more sophisticated and can corrupt your online backups. To counter this risk, it's advisable to use off-site and offline storage. Backups allow you to resume normal function within a few minutes or hours. Make sure the backups are protected using advanced encryptions and keys.

2.    Unintended Activities on Your Computer

Hackers can take over your computer and make various changes without requesting a ransom. Some hackers earn money by installing software on your computer and redirecting your browser searches to specific pages for advertising traffic. If you notice unwanted or unexpected activities on your computer and accounts, it's a strong indication of a hack. Some unwanted activities include:

•    Additional/unwanted browser toolbars

•    Brower launches to unwanted sites

•    Redirected internet searches

•    Fake antivirus messages

•    Unexpected software installations

•    Automatic cursor movements and selections

•    Abnormally high disk usage

•    Strange network usage patterns

•    Friends receiving messages you didn’t send

Some activities like observing the cursor move and making selections automatically are obvious signs of a desktop takeover. The same goes for internet search redirects. Other activities, such as software installations and turned-off protection features, may take time to discover. You should always be aware of the random unexpected activity on your computer, browsers, and other installed programs.

What to Do

Restoring systems from a known secure backup point is the first thing to do when you notice unwanted activity. You can do several other things to fix unwanted activities like search redirects and additional browser toolbars. Most browsers allow you to review toolbars and extra plugins. You can remove any bogus features or reset the browser to default.

Removing the unwanted features will also take care of random pop-ups.

Windows users can go a step further and check their computers to see if there are configured redirects. The best and simplest solution remains to restore from a known backup point. You can also update and run your antivirus to scan and remove malware.

3.    Leaked Information and Missing Finances

Missing finances in online accounts is a sure sign of a breach. In most cases, the financial company will refund your stolen finances and attempt to mitigate any further damage from their end. Other times the court may decide you were responsible for not being hacked, implying no compensation. Online hackers usually steal all your money at once and transfer them to other untraceable accounts.

Rarely will hackers steal funds in small unnoticeable bits, but that’s a possibility.

You should audit your finances often to notice unexpected activity. Information leak is another obvious sign of a breach. If your personal information is leaked to the dark web or somewhere online, it could mean someone has gained access to parts of your servers. The stolen data may not be valuable because the hacker would request a ransom. Still, it's a breach to think about.

What to Do

If you’ve lost money from your online accounts, report the issue immediately to start an investigation. The financial company can attempt to trace where the funds might have gone and determine how hackers gained access. The same goes for leaked information; you can only repair the damage if the hacker already has access to your info and finances. Lock your accounts temporarily, change passwords, and prevent further attacks on remaining reserves.

If it’s a case of breached customer information, you may need to involve a lawyer and determine the best way to communicate the breach. There’s a lot to do in terms of preventing such attacks. You can leverage withdrawal thresholds/limits and authorization requirements to prevent hackers from stealing all your funds.

Most financial institutions also offer notifications and transaction alerts, so you can quickly reverse or cancel requests from frauds.

Trustworthy Home Internet Providers

Many steps are involved in protecting yourself and your home from cybersecurity threats like hacking. Working with a trustworthy internet provider and security company is the best approach, given the complex nature of cybersecurity. You need a reliable infrastructure optimized for secure browsing and connectivity. Reputable companies will also help you implement adequate protective measures to keep hackers, frauds, and malware at bay.

Protecting home networks and devices is crucial in preventing hackers and frauds from inflicting maximum damage. Homeowners also need to keep tabs on developing security issues, points of entry/breach, and how to mitigate the impacts of an unforeseen breach. At Teleful Connect, we work with leading internet providers to cover all your home needs for internet, cable, and security.

Find out more about setting up secure home internet connections and preventing hacking attempts.