10 Signs You’ve Been Hacked

cyber security threat

Despite all of the benefits of rapid advances in modern technology, they have also put individuals and businesses across the country at risk. Even with leading antivirus law enforcement software in place, no one is safe from online hackers.

According to a 2022 Official Cybercrime Report, the cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $8 trillion in 2023 and is likely to grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025. To minimize losses from cybercrimes, it is important for individuals to recognize signs that they have been hacked.

1. Ransom Notifications

While some cybercriminals hack others for entertainment, most do it for monetary gain. In a ransomware attack, a user may receive a notification that urges them to pay a ransom or face the consequences.

These messages are often written to evoke panic – e.g., “Pay $300 or you will be locked out of your computer.” These threats are designed to motivate victims to quickly pay the ransom before having the opportunity to further investigate the situation.

2. Constant Browser Pop-Ups

browser popup conceptAlthough many web users encounter the occasional pop-up, constant pop-ups from a browser may signal a computer virus. This is especially true if pop-ups are occurring on websites where they were never present before.

3. Suspicious Emails

One of the most common ways that hackers hijack computers is through email. A hacker may send an email to hundreds or thousands of random email addresses in hopes that a handful will take the bait. When an unsuspecting person opens an email or clicks on a link in the message, a hacker is able to collect private information or gain entry into personal accounts.

4. Password Reset Messages

When a person forgets the password to their account, most websites have a “forgot password” tool that allows them to recover their password. If a person receives such an email but did not request a password reset, it could signal that someone else is trying to enter the account. Some password reset messages may also be “phishing” attempts in which the hacker tries to obtain personal data.

5. Redirected Internet Searches

Another common sign that a person has been hacked is if their internet searches are automatically redirected. The victim may not realize it at first, but the problem will soon become evident when their search results are not from relevant or leading websites.

6. CPU that Continually Rises

A computer’s central processing unit (CPU) is essentially the “brain” of the computer and is responsible for interpreting, processing and executing instructions from hardware and software programs. If a person’s device is running slower than usual, it may be due to a high CPU. The victim may discover that an unfamiliar app is prioritizing the device’s CPU, which could indicate a malware infection.

7. Unfamiliar Browser Toolbars

When opening an internet browser, the presence of an unfamiliar browser toolbar that the user did not install could be a sign that they have been hacked. Unwanted toolbars can be a nuisance as they can interrupt browser settings and leave the device open to ad windows and malicious files.

8. Unexpected Computer Software

Similar to the presence of unfamiliar browser toolbars, a person may encounter computer software that they did not install. When a person is hacked, the hacker is often capable of automatically installing software on their device without their express permission. These malicious programs can often be used to disable antivirus programs or steal personal information.

9. Fake Protection Alerts

alert on virtual screenHackers often try to appear authentic by sending their victims messages claiming to be their antivirus software. These messages typically display a warning message that tells the victim that they have been hacked and may contain a link that directs the user to a website that appears trustworthy and legitimate, such as a site that offers advanced antivirus software. These spoof sites steal the person’s payment information and other sensitive details.

10. Spammy Social Media Messages

Social media accounts face a significant risk of being hacked. From Facebook to LinkedIn, hackers may gain entry into a person’s account and use their connections for monetary gain.

A hacker may send out a message to all of the victim’s friends that includes a link that will instantly begin to download a malicious file onto their computer or direct them to a malicious website. These messages are often personally tailored to make it appear as if they came from the victim.

Stay Protected from Cybercrime with CPI OpenFox

While law enforcement agencies have strict policies in place to protect against cybercrimes, no entity is completely safe from hackers. However, having the proper software solution in place can significantly reduce a department’s risk of becoming a target.

CPI OpenFox offers law enforcement a full range of high-level software solutions that are fully encrypted to protect sensitive information. To learn more about the OpenFox Product Suite, schedule a consultation online or contact OpenFox today at 630.547.3088.