Computer hacks come in so many different forms it’s hard to keep track of all the red flags.
Whether it’s lagging computer speed or new programs mysteriously appearing on your computer, you should know the security risks. Because if ignored, a hacked system will only get worse.
If you fall victim to a computer hack, you risk a leak of your most personal data along with damaging your business’ reputation. You’ve worked too long and hard to let ill-intentioned hackers disrupt your life.
What Your System May Look Like If It’s Hacked
Taking steps to recover from a hack starts with acknowledging your system has been compromised.
1. Your Computer Is Taking Longer And Longer To Startup
For Apple users, the spinning wheel of death is never a good sign when you’re anxiously waiting to get to work. But if your computer is taking too long to startup, you may have more to worry about than just your tasks at hand.
Slow computer startup may start as a small nuisance, but it’s highly unlikely to resolve itself. While there may be an easy fix for your lagging startup speed, it is possible you’re the victim of a cyber attack.
When dealing with slow computer startups, a good first step is to ensure your defensive software and firewall are regularly updating. Doing so allows these programs to learn the latest threats and hacker tactics.
Take it a step further by scheduling automatic updates for your firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, etc. This way, you can move forward confidently, knowing your computer is secure from hackers and viruses.
2. Account Passwords Have Mysteriously Changed
If you keep careful track of all your passwords, this sign might be a little obvious. But the average person uses the same 4-5 passwords for everything.
While we never recommend reusing passwords (because that increases your vulnerability to hackers), if they are mysteriously reset – you may have a problem.
Hackers commonly lock their cyber victims out of their own accounts to give themselves time to do some mischievous digging. While you are busy resetting passwords to regain access, there’s a good chance your data is being compromised.
To combat hackers from locking you out of your accounts, it’s important to use unique passwords for every login. Passwords should contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Furthermore, your passwords should not contain anything personal. Not even your great, great, great uncle’s cat’s birthday or nickname. It may amaze you what information people can find out about you on the internet.
Add even more protection against hackers by enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). This tool allows each account to make sure the person logging in is actually you. Plus, it either adds a couple of seconds or drastically shortens login time. That’s a win-win for security and productivity.
Prevent your business from becoming vulnerable to hackers by establishing company-wide protocols. Contact Brooks IT Services today to find out how we can help implement the protocols you need while ensuring your system is in tip-top shape.
3. Your Search Engine Opens To A Different Home Page
When you open your favorite internet browser, is it opening to an unfamiliar page?
For instance, you may try searching through Google, only to end up looking at Yahoo or a homepage you’ve never seen before. There are several possible causes of this strange occurrence. Software packages may sneak in an “opt-in” checkbox or extension, or you could be a victim of malware.
If you’ve reset your default home page to your preference and it’s still opening to a different page, then you likely have a redirect virus.
Hackers profit off of the clicks they send to these knock-off home pages. And you may have walked right into their plan by clicking a fake update pop-up. At this point, you need to run an antivirus scan.
If a virus scan doesn’t fix your problem, it is time to contact your IT professional. The fallout from a virus can quickly move from annoying home page redirects to a total data breach.
4. Unfamiliar Programs Show Up When Your Computer Turns On
For non-IT experts, pinpointing non-essential programs on your computer may be a bit tricky.
However, if unfamiliar programs are popping up when you turn on your machine, it could be the result of a cyberattack. Whether you clicked on a pop-up or link, downloaded new software, or just bought a brand new computer – hackers are taking every opportunity to get into your system.
Most new computers come preloaded with programs and software you don’t actually need. While you don’t want to remove programs essential to your workflow or operating system, you do want to rid your device of unnecessary programs. This is because hackers either installed them on your computer themselves or know exactly how to navigate the preloaded programs.
Are you ready to optimize your system for increased productivity and security? Reach out to Brooks IT Services today to get started.
5. Internet Searches Redirect To Random Websites
You know how you type in a website once, and your browser continually redirects you to that one site? It’s annoying. But you stop paying attention to any other random websites because…it’s normal.
Unfortunately, while this has become your norm – it’s not normal and is likely the result of a compromised system.
Unknowingly, you might have clicked a link or downloaded something from an unknown source. Potentially, a hacker infiltrated your system. The first step is to make sure your firewall and all defensive software are updated.
Then, move on to changing ALL of your passwords. After all, if a hacker has access to one of your accounts – it’s just a matter of time before they compromise them all.
BITS Can Help You Prevent & Recover From A Computer Hack
You’ve put time, money, and sweat equity into your business. Don’t let a hacker take control.
When it comes to hackers compromising business networks, prevention and backup are key. However, if you’ve already fallen victim to the hackersphere, Brooks IT Services can get you back up and running.
To ensure the security and integrity of your personal information, your business, and your employees, contact Brooks IT Services today. Our long-lasting IT solutions can prepare and train you and your staff to maximize productivity and keep hackers at bay.