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Have I Been Hacked? How To Be 100% Sure That You’re Not Have I Been Hacked? How To Be 100% Sure That You’re Not

Have I Been Hacked? How To Be 100% Sure That You’re Not

How To Izzy Manning

A data breach happens when sensitive or personal information is unlawfully acquired or used.... Have I Been Hacked? How To Be 100% Sure That You’re Not

A data breach happens when sensitive or personal information is unlawfully acquired or used. Cybercriminals utilize several methods such as phishing and social engineering to penetrate and steal needed data. Unfortunately, these processes also evolve as technology advances.

One of the most common ways used in a data breach is hacking. This pertains to unauthorized access of a certain device, system, or network. Through malware, an online criminal can penetrate an unattended or vulnerable device. They can then easily take over or hack email accounts, bank accounts, social media accounts, apps, and more. 

Be one step ahead of these online criminals. Read on and learn the common signs that your device or system is compromised, as well as the initial steps and preventive measures you can take.

10 Signs That You’ve Been Hacked

Software Messages

If out of the blue you receive messages regarding security or antivirus scanning that you aren’t aware of, it is likely a hacking attempt. “Your device is at risk, immediately download this security software.”, is an example of ransomware

Unknown Browser Toolbars

An unrecognizable browser toolbar can also be a sign of hacking, especially if there are multiple new online service tools with absurd names suggesting that they’re helpful. Make sure to check what exactly is on your browser toolbar add-ons to see if you know what they are and if you use them. 

Redirected Searches

Being automatically redirected to irrelevant sites could be a clear sign that a hacker is targeting you. They want you to land on a certain page where your network’s security is exposed. In some similar cases, multiple browsers automatically open. 

Frequent Pop-Ups

When you’re just using your device then there are sudden irrelevant, random pop-ups, someone’s most certainly trying to penetrate, if not already, your system. These pop-ups often occur as a result of downloading a specific app or software, and visiting a site. 

Device Activities You Didn’t Do

A status you didn’t post in your social media account, a message you didn’t send in your email account, or a transaction you didn’t initiate using your bank account. Any activities you didn’t do but are processed are clear signs that you’ve been hacked.

Account Credentials Not Working

If you’re 100% certain that you’re typing in account usernames and passwords accurately, but your credentials are not going through (and there aren’t any known site maintenance efforts going on), then your accounts are most likely hacked. If the hacker obtained your email address, password, and other login details, your other online accounts may be at risk as well. 

Software Installs

Unwanted and unexpected software installations could mean that your device has been compromised. Malware like viruses, worms, and Trojans, typically install themselves like legitimate programs.

Independent Mouse Cursor Movement

It’s not a horror film episode if your mouse pointer independently moves while making selections. It usually means that a hacker has gained control of your device remotely.  

Disabled Antivirus or Anti-Malware Program

If your system’s antivirus or anti-malware program is disabled without you doing so, you’re probably exploited. This is most especially the case if you try to start Task Manager and they won’t properly start or function.

Missing Funds or Leaked Data

The most obvious signs that you’ve been hacked is If your bank account is missing funds or your personal data is leaked, without you initiating anything on your end to cause these. And it may not just be your account! It could be a company or site-wide breach, where other account holders and customers are affected as well. 

For your cell phones specifically, below are some common signs that your mobile device is compromised.

    • The device gets oddly warm from time to time.
    • Battery gets easily drained.
    • Phone is not staying charged.
    • Apps suddenly stop working.
    • Delay in restarting or shutting down the phone. 


Things To Do When You Figure Out You’ve Been Hacked

Right after confirming, or even if it’s just a hunch, that you’ve been hacked, you can do any or all of the below things.

    • Close the pop-up message without clicking any links or downloading any files.
    • Shutdown the device, and restore it to the last clean version or factory setting.. 
    • Never call the number provided on spam emails or pop-up messages.
    • Reset the browser back to its factory or default settings, and clear cache..
    • Delete or uninstall malicious programs detected by Microsoft Autoruns, Process Explorer, or similar programs.
    • For Microsoft Windows computer, check your C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts file to see if there are any malicious-looking redirections configured.
    • Perform a total wipe-out of data on your device.
    • If you still have access, immediately deactivate your social media accounts or any other hacked accounts. 
    • Report the hacked account to the platform service provider.
    • Notify your contacts, family, or friends that your account or device has been hacked.


Other Preventive Measures You Can Take

As they say, prevention is better than cure. So, take some precautionary measures to prevent hacking from happening in the first place. 

    • Use virtual private network (VPN), private browsers, and private search engines.
    • Religiously check your browser and software settings.
    • Uninstall unused apps.
    • Purchase and use antivirus or anti-malware software on your devices. 
    • Never click links or download files from unknown or suspicious senders. 
    • Use strong passwords, and enable 2-factor authentication or activate the security questions feature.
    • Keep your usernames and passwords secure and confidential.
    • Consider paying for a credit-monitoring service.
    • Download cell phone spyware to monitor your own mobile devices.  

From simply divulging email addresses to visiting unsecured sites, you create security loopholes for your system, network, and device. Always be a step ahead of these cybercriminals, and protect your personally identifiable information (PII) with extreme caution. 

Izzy Manning

I am interested in all of the latest technologies and updates, and sharing it with the world!