Internet security is a huge part of the technology industry these days. Antivirus and antimalware programs are ever prevalent in computer systems, but hackers have learned how to easily bypass them. In fact, most of the software security programs on the market today are wildly inaccurate. Their technology has advanced over time, but so have the tactics used by hackers. It is now easier than ever for someone to infiltrate a vulnerable network- the following 6 symptoms are signs that your computer is definitely infected by a hacker or malicious software:
1) Fake Antivirus Messages & Random Pop-Ups
Although these aren’t as popular today as they were in the past, fake antivirus messages still occasionally can appear on a machine. At this point, however, the damage has already been done. The purpose of the message is to get the user to click on the pop-up, which links to a fake “antivirus” website asking for credit card and billing information. It is the easiest way for hackers to dupe users into handing over their financial data unknowingly.
2) Unwanted Browser Toolbars
A very common sign of infiltration, unwanted browser toolbars can suddenly appear at the top of the screen, and mimic existing applications. This is another hacking tactic designed to get the user to click on various buttons which can open the gate for pop-ups, redirected webpages, and other malicious activity.
3) Redirected Internet Searches
Hackers are drawn to redirecting users’ searches because they generally get compensated for the amount of traffic clicks to a certain website. Be sure to look at each URL very carefully as this can be the first sign of discovery. For example, if you are searching for www.facebook.com and are redirected to www.faceebook.com do not attempt to login. Hackers can view and save personal login information and bank account details from redirecting users to fake sites intended for just that purpose. Check out this list of existing, fake Facebook login pages.
4) Phony Outgoing Emails
This is a very common occurrence, and was a huge hit for hackers a decade ago when address-hunting viruses were attached to malicious email messages. Now days, hackers tend to steal email addresses off of social media sites, which means they have access to a very incomplete list. If only a few of your contacts receive spam emails, then your machine is probably alright. If everyone in your address book got sent a worm, then it’s time to take your machine to the doctor.
5) Passwords Are Mysteriously Changed
Fake service emails are popular for hackers who wish to change emails and get inside personal online accounts. If you receive an unknown ‘change password’ email from any company, be sure to call in to confirm as this could be a phony email intended to steal your information. Once a hacker has this data, he/she can make it almost impossible to regain access and can steal your identify very seamlessly.
6) Suspicious Mouse Cursor Movement
Cursors can sometimes move randomly due to hard drive errors or glitches, but this can also be the work of a cybercriminal. If the movement is short and random, then there is no need to worry as this is common. However, if you notice your cursor moving and selecting correct options or opening specific programs, then you certainly know someone else is controlling it. If you notice your computer running programs on its own, take a few minutes to analyze what the hacker is searching for or trying to steal before shutting down your computer completely and disconnecting from the Ethernet or Wi-Fi. This may come in handy when you seek professional help to get the problem sorted out.
The bottom line is that no program or software exists that can entirely prevent malware and virus infiltrations. Keep an eye out for these symptoms so they can be prevented in the future. If you do succumb to one of these infections, performing a complete restore is the first option. Starting from scratch is often the simplest way to resolve computer infiltrations. Of course, backing up data is vital to recovering important information in the case of cybercriminal activities. Utilizing iPoint’s network monitoring service is also a great way to be alerted of these issues before they become problematic- and it starts a $6/month! Let us handle the nitty-gritty cybercriminal justice for you, and watch out for these potential security risks.