Because October is cyber security awareness month, it’s time for you to get updated on important details regarding computer hacking. More specifically, how to figure out when your computer has been hacked, because this may be harder to determine than one might think.
Unfortunately, hacking, breaches and data leaks have not just become a hot topic, but they are almost a daily episode.
Are you one of those lucky enough not to have been affected by any digital threat or vulnerability? Congratulations! Nobody is saying that an online hack is inevitable for anyone who uses technology, but it’s better that you’re fully prepared, by keeping up to date with the latest news on this topic and taking note of a few tips and tricks.
So here are some common digital vulnerabilities and risks you should be aware of:
- When you see new files or programs on the computer
Just to make sure you were actually hacked, check with everybody who uses the computer to see if they installed the new program. If nobody did, your computer is either the victim of a virus or a Trojan horse. These programs can allow the hacker to gain access to a large amount of information stored on your computer.
Open your antivirus program and check if it has any virus detection logs. You can also run a scan of your computer and inspect your hard drive for malware.
2. Your contact lists receives spam e-mails
Hackers get into your e-mail account and start spreading spam and viruses. If you start receiving complaints from your family and friends mentioning that they receive advertising e-mails from you, that means someone is in control of your e-mail account.
Log into your e-mail account and change your account password.
3. You receive fake antivirus warning messages
This is a masked way in which hackers draw you into buying their product. The anti-virus message alert displayed on your computer recommends you fix the unfortunate situation and advises you to click on a provided link. If you follow the link, you will be asked to give your credit card number and billing information.
Solution: Whenever you see an anti-virus fake message, immediately shut down your computer. When you re-start your computer, choose the Safe Mode, and uninstall any newly installed software.
4. You’re sure you’re typing a password correctly but doesn’t seem to work
Initially, you shouldn’t stress, and simply try again later; sometimes, websites, apps or programs do encounter technical difficulties. However, if the same thing happens in 30 minutes, this is not a good sign. A hacker has probably logged in using your account.
Contact the support services to report the compromised account and they will guide you to set-up a new account or maybe just change your password. Just to avoid similar situations, change your authentication method and make it a two-factor.
Recent online hacks that generated a media frenzy
- A malware virus from Microsoft Word launched through the Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) feature
This virus created malicious Word files with DDE fields and instead of opening another Office app (which it should normally do), it ran a malicious code.
Hackers’ main intention was directed towards worldwide organizations as the virus was sent via spear phishing emails and making these seem they were sent by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
2. Facebook trusted contacts scheme
This threat begins quite innocently as you receive a message on Facebook Messenger asking you to help a friend from your contact list recover his/her account. The reason why you receive this message is because you are a trusted contact. Next, you will receive a code for recovering your friend’s account and then you send the code to your actual friend, because you want to help a friend in need, right? Well, wrong…at least in this case. You’ve just send the code to a hacker.
3. Bogus Outlook encrypted mails
If you used Microsoft Outlook and sent encrypted e-mails with the help of S/MIME protocol, there is bad news. In the last 6 months, Microsoft Outlook sent the e-mails in both the encrypted and un-encrypted form. This bug could have been easily overlooked because the messages would appear as encrypted in the “Sent Items” folder.
4. Recurrent password pop ups on iPhone
Just another trick hackers use to intercept users’ passwords. A pop up box requesting your phone password would appear in unexpected situations, like simply when you start surfing the net. Particularly, if this pop up shows up when you open an app, then you hit the home button and both the app and the box disappear, that’s the sign of a phishing attack.
So, the online world is pretty unsafe but we are still very dependent on internet and technology. Installing a reliable anti-virus on your computer is essential. What you can do to protect your devices even further is use a VPN such as CyberGhost and encrypt your data, protect your Wi-Fi connections and become invisible online. Check out other advantages of CyberGhost and download this reliable protection app!