More than 50% of users have experienced a cybercrime during the last year. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cyber security costs are going to go up by around 15% in the next 5 years reaching USD 10.5 trillion annually. This means there will be more chances of someone hacking your computer or mobile. So, to be safe you need to keep an eye on the signs which tell you that your computer or mobile has been hacked.
In this article, we will look at 10 signs that indicate your computer is being hacked or has been hacked. In earlier times, it used to take some expertise to hack computers but now it is very common. According to an estimate, around 60% of computers are hacked in some way even without the person knowing it. We hope you’re not being hacked but you should check these signs to know whether you’re safe or not.
10 Ways to Check if Your Computer is being Hacked or Not
It is not very easy to tell if someone is hacking your computer or not. However, some common signs may be a lifesaver for you. And you can protect your precious data from falling into wrong hands. So, without further ado, let’s check what are the signs of a hacked computer.
Sign 1: Webcam Turning on Automatically
Coming in at number 1 is the webcam. This is not only one of the easiest signs to show you’re being hacked but it’s also one of the creepiest. Check your webcam. It should have no light unless you’re using it. But if you see a green light that indicates your webcam is on then this could mean your computer is being hacked.
When you use your webcam, your webcam light probably stays on but if you’re hacked, it will flicker. This is because the hacker is establishing the connection. And after a successful connection, he can disable the light for too long while hacking you. This is seriously creepy as it means the hacker can see everything you’re doing.
A way to test if you are being hacked is to turn off your computer and then turn it back on. And if the webcam is still acting similarly after 20 minutes, it’s a sign your computer is likely being hacked by a creep. So, watch out!
Sign 2: Getting too Many Spam Pop-ups
Another sign that indicates your computer has been hacked is spam popups. Someone after hacking your computer might install some malware that will display popups leading to malicious websites. These types of hacks are done usually for unethical promotion of some products or websites.
So, if you are also getting these kinds of notifications or pop-ups, it’s better to scan your PC using a good antivirus. You should also check the list of installed programs on your computer and uninstall suspicious ones.
Sign 3: Hijacked Web Browser
Is your web browser is showing unexpected behavior? Are you getting redirected to unknown websites which you didn’t intend to? Has your Home page and search engine changed automatically? If your answer to these questions is Yes, then your web browser has been hacked.
This is one of the very common signs that show your computer is being or has been hacked. If you are the victim of browser hijacking, you should immediately reset your browser settings and scan your PC using your antivirus. You can also uninstall unnecessary extensions from your web browser.
Sign 4: Getting Lots of Social Friend Requests
Are your friends getting a lot of social requests from your account even when you are not using it? Or do you see unknown things posted on your social media? This might indicate that someone has hacked your social media accounts. Hacking social accounts is very common as you might have heard the news of social accounts of celebrities being hacked.
So, if you have logged into your social media accounts on a hacked computer, your social accounts also might get hacked. And this is a very serious sign of hacked computer as the attacker might harm your social image very easily.
If you are experiencing a social account hack, immediately change the passwords of your social accounts and scan your computer using a good antivirus.
Sign 5: Fake Antivirus Warnings (Serious Sign of Hacked Computer)
Next up is fake antivirus. Thinking of getting an antivirus? You must be careful while choosing an antivirus. That’s right; there are loads of fake ones out there which automatically install themselves on your computer. They will then pop up and ask you to do a virus scan, in turn asking you for admin permissions.
This is where things go wrong, very very wrong. Instead of scanning and removing viruses, it actually installs them. This is of course very bad as it makes you think it’s gonna help you while really all it does is hack you.
Always be sure to be wary of any antivirus alert just in case. A good way to spot them is if you don’t remember installing an antivirus of that name or if it doesn’t look like your regular antivirus.
Sign 6: Unknown Programs Installed in your PC
How frequently do you check the list of installed programs on your computer? To be honest, almost no one checks it frequently. But it is where you can see the signs if your computer is hacked or not. Go to the list of installed programs in the Control Panel and see if there is an unknown or suspicious program installed.
If you find any program that you don’t recall installing or you are not using, consider uninstalling it immediately. Besides that, a full system scan is also recommended. If you are unable to remove those programs normally, try starting your PC in Safe Mode or use an Emergency Rescue Disk.
Sign 7: Unknown Programs Running at Startup (Another Serious sign of Hacked Computer)
Just like the previous sign, you should also check the list of programs that are starting with Windows. A hacker might install malware or spyware in your PC which starts at the system startup. This makes it easy for hackers to get control of your hacked computer even after you restart your computer.
To check the list of startup programs, open Task Manager and go to the Startup tab. Here, you can see the list of programs starting with Windows. Check the list and disable unknown or suspicious programs from startup.
Sign 8: Unexpected System Crashes indicate Hacked Computer
Is your computer crashing suddenly while you are working on it? Are you getting critical error messages while running any common programs? This may be a sign of a hacked PC. But before jumping to any conclusions, make sure that your computer is updated. Go to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update and click Check for updates.
Install the latest updates on your PC and restart it. Most common issues get resolved by installing the latest updates. However, if the issues still persist, it might be an indicator of a hacked computer. So, you should check for suspicious programs and scan your computer using an antivirus program.
Sign 9: Files with Unknown Extensions (Ransomware Attack)
Another serious sign of hacked computer is the files with unknown file extensions. If the file extensions of your photos, videos, or documents change to some unknown type (like .ecc, .exx, .exx, etc.), you have been hacked by ransomware.
Once ransomware encrypts your files, there are very small chances of getting your files back. Even if you pay the ransom, which may be several thousand USD, there is no guarantee that you will get your files back. Even if you do, there are chances you might get hacked again in the future.
So, if you have a separate backup of your files, reset your PC or reinstall OS and restore your files from the backup. We recommend you do not pay the ransom as it increases the probability of these attacks.
Sign 10: Slow-Running Computer
The next sign is a slow computer. This one is super obvious but many people overlook it. If your computer is slow, you might just assume it’s getting old but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, hacked computers go far slower.
This is because it not only has to process the information you’re giving it but it also has to send it to hackers as well. Thanks to this, your computer’s processor gets overloaded and hence slows down your computer. The best bet is to make sure your computer is always updated to get around this. You can also try these tips to make your PC fast again.
Check these Signs to Prevent Your Computer from being Hacked
Besides the signs mentioned above, there are some other things that you should look for. Like if your mouse cursor is moving by itself, it may also be a sign of hacked computer.
While there are a lot of things that may get your computer hacked, simple precautions may also prevent it. So, keep an eye on the 10 signs explained in this post, and stay safe. Prevention is always better than cure.
Well, hope you liked this article. You can share this post with your friends to educate them about the ways to know if their computer is being hacked or not. Be safe on the internet.