This is a question we often ask ourselves when we are in front of our computer: “How do I know if my pc is hacked?”
I hear people say PEOPLE can hack one’s computer from any part of the world, and it gets me wondering why it is so.
Why is it like that? Why do they have to create computers in such a way?
Well, computers are manmade materials and as such are always vulnerable to manipulations.
If you do not go online with your computer it will have less chances of being hackable.
But if you browse the internet with your machine, …I am sorry. You are prone to experiencing hacks and attacks from hackers and voracious netizens.
Do you suspect someone is spying on what you do on your computer? Want to check if your PC is hacked, and that there is no spyware? It can be difficult to detect a hacker on a computer because they will hide their actions.
But luckily, you can detect their presence by closely monitoring the behaviour of your computer.
Below are the most common signs that your computer might have been hacked.
Installation/Processing of new programs on your computer
If you are the only user of the computer and new programs are installed, it could be indicating that your computer is being or has been hacked.
Most hackers have the tendency to install a backdoor software on the victim’s machine, which will launch immediately after the computer starts.
This allows them to continue their activity indefinitely, since the application opens automatically.
If you are able to view all the programs that have been installed and are running on your PC you will have a better idea of when your system is being manipulated.
You’re wondering how to do this?
The solution is quite simple and very effective at detecting a hacker(s).
1. Check the presence of strange and foreign programs by pressing the Windows key and the R key at the same time.
2. Type “msconfig” in the window that comes up and click enter to open your system configuration window.
3. Navigate to the startup tab.
4. You will have the list of software that will automatically launch at startup, i.e. whenever you put your computer on. It now remains with you to know which program is malicious and which program is not. You can try and stop some of the services that you have not seen there before, if you have been opening that window and are familiar with services and processes that run there.
Though, I wouldn’t recommend that you do this.
The best thing is to use antivirus programs to scan your system. Good ones will be able to fish out such malicious applications and be able to stop them at your will.
You can also go to your control panel and uninstall every software that you are not sure of its function.
Internet connection is slower than usual
For a hacker to take control of your computer, he must connect to it remotely. When someone is remotely connected to your computer, your Internet connection will be affected and hence become slower.
To check your network activity and find out which programs are using your internet connection without your knowledge, I recommend using the TCPView program.
TCPView is a real-time TCP/IP monitoring tool. With this tool you will be able to see which process communicates with the internet and via which means.
The goal will be to look for a suspicious process that connects to a remote address to send data from your PC.
Windows users can also use the netstat command to determine remotely established network connections and open ports.
However, your Internet connection may also be slow due to other factors.
Sending of spam to your email contacts without your knowledge
When your computer is hacked, the hacker almost always uses your mailbox to spread spam and viruses to your loved ones. If your friends, family, or coworkers receive messages from you that are very specific to you (but without your initiation, i.e. you are not the sender) then you have been hacked.
There are small programs called keyloggers, which can be installed without your knowledge, which are able to copy the strokes and keys you have typed on your keyboard (especially when you enter a password) and send the result via internet to the hacker and installer.
The solution? Scan your computer with an anti-malware like MalwareBytes. Then log in to your email account and change the password of all your accounts.
The computer does things independently
If your computer has been hacked, it is possible for the hacker to control your computer remotely as if they were sitting at your desk. For example, a mouse cursor could be moved or your PC would type letters by itself.
If you see the computer doing something like someone else is controlling it, it indicates that your computer has been exploited by a hacker and has become a Zombie PC(botnet).
Some smart guys offer zombie machine rentals on the Darknet to conduct DDOS attacks (an attack that saturates a query site). Your machine may be part of this botnet network.
Other signs that should not be overlooked:
1. The fan starts at full speed when the computer is idle.
2. Your computer takes a longer time to shut down.
3. Open pop-ups of ads even when your web browser is closed.
4. Your computer turns off and restarts itself.
5. Your PC is slow and hangs unnecessarily.
If you notice these signs, then you have to download a software suite and do a complete scan of your system. I recommend you read this post to know how to completely remove malware and viruses from your computer
Once your computer becomes clean again, all you have to do is adopt a new digital lifestyle. Do not forget to update your operating system, your antivirus and the software installed on your PC.
Like that, you can avoid being hacked again.