Have we been hacked? All the methods to find out

PC hackedHow many times will it have happened to us the unpleasant feeling of being hacked, even though the computer is apparently functioning properly and does not appear to show any signs of impending infection or problems? This is possible because compared to what we believe about hackers (who are always very explicit and “noisy” on TV and movies) they leave no traces of their passage and, if they decide to spy on you for a long time and to control our PC, they will have every interest not to be “discovered”.

If we too have this feeling or just want to check the computer we use every day, in this guide, we will show you all methods to be able to recognize a hacked PC, so as to be able to take the necessary measures and save personal data, account data and credit card numbers saved in browsers.

READ ALSO: Methods to access protected WiFi network and ways of intrusion

How to recognize a hacked PC

If we do not know if we have been hacked, we carry out all the necessary checks, so as to be able to detect obvious or well-hidden signs of the passage of a hacker on our computer or on our notebook. Most hackers target PCs with Windows installed, but Macs and Linux can also be considered completely immune (although Linux significantly decreases the risk of being compromised).

The mouse cursor moves by itself

The first thing that can make you suspect a hacker attack concerns the mouse cursor: passing by chance in front of the PC when we have not been seated for a while we may have noticed a fully automatic mouse movement, without us having even touched the pointing device.

While this sign does not automatically mean “we are under hacker attack”, it could be a clue that should not be overlooked: if there are no problems with the drivers or with the device itself, the mouse should never move by itself! The best hackers can spy on what we do through a RAT Trojan, which is a dangerous virus that allows the hacker to see everything we do on the PC and to control it remotely, so as to be able to copy our passwords or our access credentials. Perhaps the mouse moved by itself precisely because our computer is infected with a RAT Trojan and therefore, taking advantage of our pause, the hacker decided to try to take control by moving the mouse remotely.

People you know get weird messages from you

Another method of finding out if we have been hacked may be difficult to interpret, as it also involves colleagues, friends, or relatives. In fact, it may happen to receive a warning message (on WhatsApp or other channels) from an acquaintance of ours, who informs us of a strange message from us on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social tool: in fact, they are warning us that someone pretends to be us and is writing things that do not reflect our personality or that are clearly fake or compromising.

Identity theft or compromise of social media accounts is one of the most effective methods to discover that you have been hacked since some people will immediately make us discover the mystery and warn us. If in doubt, if we get these warning messages and we fear that it is itself a threat, we completely change the platform (if we are using the PC we switch to the smartphone or tablet and vice versa) and check our social accounts: some hackers are so clever that they can start the RAT Trojan by exploiting this type of mental weakness, after hacking the accounts of our friends or relatives: after making us scared they spy on us just as we enter username or password, perhaps with the help of a keylogger (which steals the digital words on the keyboard).

You are unable to access some system tools or antivirus

Another obvious sign on a hacked PC is the inability to access some system menus or tools. To avoid being “kicked out” the hacker will provide disable the antivirus and make both inaccessible Activity management (Task Manager) and other menus that can compromise its hacking work (for example Windows Update).

If one of these menus is no longer accessible even after a system reboot, we must assume that we have been hacked.

Your checking accounts are emptying

This is without a doubt the most dangerous method to discover: at any moment our checking accounts and our payment accounts (PayPal) o e-commerce accounts (Amazon) are emptied of all money, leaving us completely broke or even in debt to the bank (if the account allows the liabilities).

In these cases, all we have to do is change the passwords of the compromised accounts immediately and contact the bank or the compromised site, so that we can start the system checks and provide (as far as possible) to block the transitions before it is too late.

Passwords change by themselves

Another method of recognizing hacked PCs is sudden password changes: at any moment in fact we can no longer access some sites or even we can not access our Windows account.

In these cases, we will immediately change the password and activate (where possible) two-factor authentication, so as to significantly increase the level of security when we use online accounts. To increase the security level of the Windows account we use a Microsoft account with two-factor authentication; we have created a guide on this topic Why use a Microsoft account in Windows 10.

New unknown programs appear

Another obvious sign that a PC is compromised involves the appearance of new programs among those present in the Start menu or in the folder Programs system disk.

Although this thing could easily be confused with bloatware that accompanies some laptops with Windows 10, the appearance of new, never-before-seen, and never-started programs could be an obvious sign of a hacker hiding in our PC and ready to steal our personal data or our current accounts. If we are afraid that unknown programs are actually bloatware that has always been present on the PC, we invite you to read our guide Delete pre-installed programs, trials, and trial versions.

Conclusions

If we are dealing with a really good and experienced hacker, we will probably never be able to kick him out of our computer or our Internet network: in this case, it is better to resign or disconnect the Internet line for a while (perhaps using in the meantime one LTE bar of soap it’s a new computer with Linux).

The recommendations we can give you to keep hackers away are always the same: we always keep our computer updated, install a good antivirus and avoid opening suspicious or dubious links received via email or chat. If your PC is compromised, it may be a good idea to format everything and start over; for this operation, we invite you to read our guide How to Format Windows 10.

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