A good hacker can break into a computer, smartphone, or another device, steal the information they want, then get out without leaving a trace. Thankfully, for modern consumers, most hackers aren’t that good at what they do. They tend to leave behind signs of their presence. Read on to find out about seven signs that a computer has been compromised by hackers to make it easier to tell when to take action to contain the damage.
The Computer Suddenly Slows Down
Malicious software, including viruses, trojans, and worms, can cause computers to slow down, freeze, or crash. It runs in the background, using the computer’s resources to do its dirty work. The best treatment is always prevention, so consumers should read more about EvolveTec here to learn about one high-tech IT security solution that can help before computers get hacked.
- Excessive Bandwidth Consumption
Some of the tools used by cybercriminals draw extra bandwidth in the course of their operations. Adware is a good example of this. Hackers will remotely install adware on a target’s computer and set it to perform unsolicited clicks in the background to generate profit. Unless they’re paying attention to bandwidth consumption, computer users may not even be aware that it’s happening.
- Excessive Load Times
Malware slows down Internet traffic by hijacking a router’s DNS. It redirects traffic to unsafe servers, slowing down users’ browsing experiences, and creating serious security risks. If a router’s DNS settings have been reset, it can redirect a connected computer’s user to phishing websites instead of legitimate sites, placing his or her personal and financial information at risk. The slow loading times are just a symptom of this underlying problem.
- Frequent Crashes
If a computer has been infected with a particularly nasty virus, it can take over its critical system files, causing affected programs or apps to crash. Ransomware can stop users from accessing their most essential files, while other types of viruses can disable antivirus software and task managers to make it easier to infiltrate the rest of the computer.
- Frequent Pop-Up Ads
Cybercriminals can use malware or DNS hacking to spam computers with pop-up ads. These often contain spam messages instructing users to click through links to download more malware programs, which can also generate unwanted website shortcuts and bookmarks and cannot be blocked by traditional ad blockers. Some cybercriminals will also hijack a user’s DNS to switch out the ads they normally view online with malicious or inappropriate ones made by the hacker.
- Sudden Restarts
It’s normal for computers to restart themselves occasionally to update software or operating systems, but users will always be informed before this happens and will have the option to delay the restart. If a computer restarts itself suddenly without any warning, it’s most likely infected with a virus.
- Strange Online Activity
Hackers can access users’ online profiles, then send emails, create posts on social media, or send messages to others on the user’s friend list in an attempt to solicit money or information. The best way to catch this problem is to keep an eye on “sent” folders, social media posts, and even recently watched lists on Netflix, which can also be hacked. Unexplained and unauthorized activity indicates that the accounts have been hijacked.
The Bottom Line
Hackers are clever, but so are those tasked with preventing malicious cybercrimes. Install a high-quality antivirus program and work with an IT security company to ensure that the computer and all the sensitive information it contains are safe from hackers.