5 Signs Your PC Has Been Hacked (and What to do About it)

Though data on computer hacks is often deemed incomplete based on the number of issues that go unreported, it's estimated that up to 2.5 billion online accounts are hacked per year. That boils down to nearly 7 million hacked accounts every day. What's more is that cyber crooks are always seemingly one step ahead of anti-virus and security software, meaning that anything implemented to prevent hacking is often reactive - and not proactive. Yet, it's important to note that there are still several things that users can do to safeguard their computers and their confidential information. But before we get into some prevention basics, let's take a look at five sure-fire signs that your PC has been hacked.

5 Signs Your PC Has Been Hacked (and What to do About it)

5 Signs You've Been Hacked

1. Data Breaches on Websites You Use

Whether it's a data breach of a website that you often use or a phishing attack that has potentially compromised your log-in credentials, data breaches on websites are fairly common. Often times, the browser you're using will alert you if your password has been potentially compromised, and you should take action immediately if it has. If a website that you use has been hacked, you may have to get a new credit card or you may even want to freeze your credit to prevent unauthorized use or identity theft.

2. Someone is Sending Odd Invitations Impersonating You

This is a typical sign of hacker activity on social media networks, as a hacker pretends to be you and either sends invitations to "be a friend" or attempts to gain confidential information from your contacts under your disguise. If a hacker can't gain access to your profile, it's not unusual for them to try to impersonate your profile. If your account has been hacked, be sure to change your password. You may also want to give your friends list a heads up about the issue and then always report the imposter to the social network.

3. You're Receiving Emails About Failed Log-ins

Oftentimes, you'll receive an email if you've attempted to log in to an account from a new device or if you successfully logged in from a new device. It'll tell you not to do anything if you did and then outline the proper steps to take to safeguard your account if the login was not you. To fend off any hackers, just follow the prompts if the login was not you.

4. Your Online Searches are Redirected

Is your browser taking you to webpages you don't want to visit? It's likely a hacker trying to get you to visit either their website or the website of a client so they can attempt to swipe confidential information from you. Resetting your browser settings or deleting any strange toolbars can help.

5. You Notice Strange Internet Browser Toolbars

Notice a new toolbar when you pull up your internet browser? It was probably installed by a hacker who is now trying to manipulate you. Retrace your downloads and make sure you uninstall it or run a security sweep on anything that you're uncertain about.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

When was the last time you've asked yourself, "Have I been hacked?" The best way to prevent becoming a victim of an online hack is to up your game when it comes to recognizing phishing attempts. Don't open any email attachments from senders you're unfamiliar with and be aware of activity that is unusual. Additionally, try to ensure that you're using different passwords for every site you register with and consider using two-factor authentication to make it harder for anyone other than you to gain access to your accounts. Last but not least, be sure to update your computer software when updates become available, as many times these will include the latest security patches.

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5 Signs Your PC Has Been Hacked (and What to do About it)