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July 21, 2021

According to statistics, a hacker strikes every 39 seconds. Even in a time where people know more about computers than ever, many people are leaving themselves open to hackers without even realizing it. 

The best way to protect yourself from a cybersecurity threat is to stay informed. In our article, we outline a few of the signs you’ve been hacked and what to do about it. 

Signs You Might Have Been Hacked

Sign #1: Computer Running Slow

Your computer running slower than usual can be one of the major signs of a virus or hack. Viruses running in the background can eat up your bandwidth and data. 

One clue to a slowed-down connection is your videos buffering more often or webpages taking a long time to load. This can happen from hackers targeting your DNS and redirecting you to dangerous websites to farm your information. 

You can check for suspicious activity or dangerous software running in the background by looking through your Task Manager or Activity Monitor for anything you don’t recognize. Be sure to also regularly check your internet speed, especially if you notice any extreme changes.

Sign #2: Changes in Activity

Another big sign of computer hacking is any strange or unexpected changes in the way your browser is working. For example, some malware can change your home page without your permission or save bookmarks you didn’t make. This can be another tactic that DNS hackers use to redirect your information to them.

Malware can also make pop-up ads appear more frequently. These ads often open new browser windows or tabs and prevent you from getting work done. More than that, these pop-ups can also eat your data and bandwidth, which slows down your computer overall.

If you notice any suspicious changes in how your computer is working, downloading an antivirus like Norton or Malwarebytes can target and clear any suspicious malware or viruses causing these problems.

Sign #3: Password Changes

If you have been the victim of a computer hack, the effects of the hack can reach even beyond your computer activity. If you have ever tried logging into an account and noticed your password isn’t working, a hacker may have compromised your account.

Through phishing and DNS hacking, hackers can gain access to your emails and passwords. This is especially true if you often use the same email and password for multiple websites. Once they have this information, they can hack into your accounts and collect more of your information or use it to spread more malicious links.

To prevent this, consider using a password randomizer. These generators create a random combination of numbers and letters that makes it harder for hackers to guess your passwords.

You should also always enable two-factor authentication which usually uses a code sent to your email or phone to verify that you are the one logging into your account. This will notify you if anyone is attempting to get into your account without your knowledge.

Sign #4: Suspicious Messages

Suspicious messages happen all the time. The spam folder helps you keep unsafe emails from filling your inbox and prevents you from falling victim to a cybersecurity threat. But suspicious messages outside of your inbox can also be signs of computer hacking!

One of the scariest messages to get on your computer is a ransomware message. These messages take over your screen and demand money to decrypt your data.

Though it may seem like the only way out, paying money to the scammers doesn’t always work. In these cases, the best way to save your data is by creating backup data stored in an outside device or hard drive.

Another message you may get is a fake antivirus message. These messages scare the victims by telling them that their antivirus has detected malware on their computer. These messages can seem scary, but restarting your computer can easily get rid of these messages with no harm.

Finally, another sure way to determine you have been hacked is by noticing suspicious messages being sent by you! If you notice your friends have been getting suspicious messages from your accounts or something has been posted on your social media without your consent, your account may be compromised.

In these cases, you should immediately change the passwords on your account and enable two-factor authentication if you haven’t already.

How Do Hacks Happen?

There are a few ways people become the target of a computer hack. One of the main ways people get hacked is by falling for phishing scams.

Phishing is a type of scam where the victim receives an email, text, call, or message of some kind pretending to be a business to get the victim to send their personal information such as their credit card number or password. These scams usually use claims that are too good to be true and have suspicious links or attachments that lead victims to harmful websites.

Another way you might get hacked is by having a weak password or using the same password on multiple websites. If you use the same password on multiple websites, a cybersecurity breach on one website could lead to all your other accounts being vulnerable.

Once the hacker gets your information, there is no limit to what they can do with it. If you suspect you may have fallen for one of these hacks, be sure to watch out for signs of computer hacking.

Protect Yourself From Being Hacked

Though people are the target of cybersecurity threats every day, you don’t have to be. Be sure to always protect yourself by avoiding suspicious links and frequently updating your passwords.

If you are interested in learning more about your internet and protecting yourself from being hacked, check out our other resources. We are dedicated to helping you understand your internet and get the fastest, safest connection you can.

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