Saturday, August 08, 2020

Hacked?

How do you know if you've been hacked? What is meant by hacked?

Definition of "hacked" - using a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system

 

If your email account was hacked:

  • Your contacts start receiving emails that look like they are from you, usually with malicious links.  
  • Your social media has posts that you did not make
  • There maybe suspicious activity on your other online accounts, as hackers will try the same username/password to access bank and credit card accounts.
  • Worse, you start receiving notices from vendors of shipment, but unpaid balances, or your online banking account is emptied.

 If your computer was hacked:

  • Your browser is redirected to strange sites
  • Your antivirus is turned off
  • There is software on your computer that you did not install
  • Your online passwords do not work
  • Worse case, you get a ransomware message when you boot up your computer and cannot access any of your files.

Unpatched software, mistakenly installing malware such as a Trojan, or clicking on malicious email links can all result in your computer being hacked.  You can protect yourself by using strong passwords, two factor authentication and keeping different passwords for each online account.

Strong passwords consists of 

  • Upper and lower case letters
  • Numbers 
  • Special Characters

The longer the better.  Using passphrases and mixing up the letters with numbers and special characters may help you remember.  Or you can use a password manager, remembering one password and further protecting that account with two factor authentication. 

Keep your software updated, to include antivirus.  Be aware of links BEFORE you open them.  Check your email to make sure it is legitimate.  Use strong passwords, a different one for each online account, or use a password manager.  And use two factor authentication whenever it is offered!

 First thing, ensure your antivirus is updated, then run a full scan.  Then change your passwords!  Remember, if you use the same password for multiple accounts, hackers will try it there, also.  If you do that, or cannot remember complex passwords, seriously consider a password manager.

In addition to antivirus, think about using additional security measures, especially if you are on your computer daily.  I recommend (and use) Malwarebytes, in addition to antivirus.  It tells me when I click on a link to a site that may be malicious.  And it scans my computer daily for things like PUPs (possibly unwanted programs) that are constantly finding their way onto my computer, as well as other malware.