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How to know if you've been hacked

November 30, 2018

online internet security

Today, November 30th, is Computer Security Day! It might not be as exciting as Halloween or your birthday, but it’s worth paying attention to. In honor of this special day, we would like to share a few tips about strengthening your awareness when it comes to computer security.

Have you been hacked?

Here are some clues to tell if you’ve been hacked:
  • Your anti-virus program generates an alert. To ensure the alert is not a pop-up window from a website trying to fool you, do not click on the alert. Open your anti-virus software directly from your menu to confirm the alert is legitimate.
  • You get a pop-up window saying that your computer has been encrypted and you have to pay a ransom to get your files back.
  • Your browser is taking you to sites you don’t want to visit.
  • Your computer is constantly crashing.
  • Your password doesn’t work even though you know it’s right.
  • Friends are getting spam messages from you that you aren’t sending.
  • AND MOST IMPORTANT, there are charges to your credit card or withdrawals from your bank account that you didn’t make.

What do you do next?

Act quickly! If the hack is work-related, call your IT department immediately. Don’t try to fix it yourself. If it’s your personal computer or device, here are some steps to take:

  • Change your passwords – all of them. Do not use the hacked device to change your passwords. Use a different computer, tablet, or phone that you trust is secure.
  • If the issue involves your bank or a credit card, freeze your card and call them immediately. You may also consider putting a freeze on your credit files.
  • Follow the actions that your anti-virus software recommends.
  • You can consider reinstalling your operating system, or hiring someone to do this. Or if your computer is old and out of date, perhaps it will be easier to buy a new one. Christmas is coming!
  • Prepare ahead with regular back-ups. Make sure your files are backed up at least daily, and check frequently to make sure you can access them.
  • If you feel threatened or in danger, report the incident to local law enforcement. If you are the victim of identity theft, you can visit www.identitytheft.gov

We are all at some risk for hacking and identity theft. Make sure you are prepared and are using your computer wisely.