The user should be aware if the computer's performance changes or if programs appear without authorization, because the PC may have been hacked. When the machine begins to exhibit a series of unusual behaviors, it may be an indication of the presence of malicious software. Strange online activities, randomly shutting down or restarting the PC can also occur in these cases.
Below are eight signs that you may have been hacked and see how to protect yourself in these situations. Alerts are for all operating systems: Windows, macOS and Linux.
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1. Computer performance changes suddenly
It is important to be aware of whether the machine's performance drops suddenly, significantly, or in the long run. This may be because to access the PC remotely for data or to send malware required from the processor's capacity.
So if, without any clear explanation, the device starts to crash or even the Internet connection becomes slower than usual, it can be a bad signal. To confirm if there are any problems, check the antivirus update, the protection software needs to be in the latest version. Run as many security checks as possible.
2. Unknown programs and extensions
Currently, most malware is Trojans and worms, which gain access to machines disguised as legitimate programs. It is common for the user to believe that he has installed only one software, but he discovers the download of several others by reading the license terms.
Way to access the Google Chrome extensions page Photo: Reproduo / Marvin Costa
In addition, some of the malicious apps allow the installation of other applications of the kind, which leaves the machine even more exposed. In such cases, it is recommended to access the Windows Task Manager, the macOS Activity Monitor or the Linux System Monitor to check the running programs and, of course, uninstall the suspects as soon as possible.
In browsers, it is common to see several toolbars with false or confusing options, in addition to unknown extensions. Regarding browsers, it is ideal to periodically check the installed plugins, as well as those present in the toolbar.
The user visits sites they are used to and, out of nowhere, start opening advertising or redirection windows to other pages. This scenario can indicate a compromise of the computer system.
Current browsers often block pop ups Photo: Divulgao / Google, Microsoft and Mozilla
Current browsers are often effective at blocking pop-ups. However, if they keep showing up, time to go into action. Often, unwanted advertisements are generated by unknown programs installed on the PC or add-on and mysterious items from the browser toolbar. When eliminating them, inconvenient windows are likely to disappear.
4. PC shuts down or randomly restarts
If the computer starts to shut down or restart randomly and steadily, the problem must be carefully observed. This may indicate that an unauthorized application has taken control of the device and destabilized the settings. In this, Windows Task Manager, macOS Activity Monitor or Linux System Monitor can help you check the actions running on your computer.
5. Unknown or strange online activities
On an infected computer, it is common for the user to experience unexpected situations when browsing the Internet (in addition to the aforementioned pop-ups). A classic case is the appearance of posts on the social network never made by the owner of the profile. In general, they contain redirect links to a fake website. Another feature is the addition of profiles in a row without the user's knowledge. In this case, the suggested attitude will always monitor the activities.
It is also possible that, unexpectedly, one or more passwords for online services will stop working. This can occur after the person responds to a phishing email, which simulates a service. Thus, criminals gain access to account data. They then change passwords and other information to prevent recovery.
Search the affected service company to retrieve the password as soon as possible, the first action to be taken. Then, it is worth paying attention to the emails received, after all, companies do not usually request confidential data online.
On an infected computer, the security program may begin to exhibit abnormal behavior. The software can appear constantly disabled, do not run scans when requested or even disappear from the machine. In such cases, the solution will find the unwanted host and delete it as quickly as possible.
Fake antivirus alerts can infect the machine Photo: Arte / dnetc
Regarding antiviruses, there is also the scam of the system's false infection alerts. When you click No or Cancel for the fake program to scan the PC, the machine is allowed to access the machine by malware and, with that, the provision of personal information and even bank data. The recommendation is to turn off the device as soon as possible, turn it back into safe mode and delete the malicious software. Then, perform a scan with the antivirus, to guarantee the disappearance of threats.
7. Mouse cursor with "own life"
It is common for the mouse pointer to make random movements or not respond to commands correctly due to hardware problems. However, if he starts taking specific actions, like making selections that work, the PC is likely to be hacked.
It is ideal to turn off the machine and use a secure computer to change user data on online services. Then check to see if any purchases or other banking transactions have been made. If the device has actually been hacked, the exit is to look for a professional to completely restore it. And if money is stolen, it is essential to notify the responsible authorities.
Mouse cursor with "own life" may indicate hacked PC Photo: Caio Bersot / dnetc
8. Unrecognized financial transactions
When hackers have access to third-party banking data, it is likely that money will disappear from that person's account through transfers made to other accounts. Access information is usually obtained through replies to fake emails or from a computer with a damaged system.
Banks usually have insurance to reimburse customers in this type of situation. However, to avoid being surprised, activate the movement alert via SMS or app and set a limit for carrying out transfers and sending amounts abroad, for example.