Face it: Hackers Gonna Hack. How to know if you’ve been hacked?
- Your friends tell you. They’ve received a spammy or phishy e-mail from your account.
- Your phone tells you. Collection companies are calling about nonpayment. Battery and data usage are higher than normal. Charges for premium SMS numbers show up on your bill.
- Your browser tells you. Unwanted browser toolbars, homepages, or plugins appear unexpectedly. You’re seeing lots of pop-ups or web page redirects. Your online passwords aren’t working.
- Your software tells you. New accounts appear on your device. Antivirus messages report that the virus hasn’t been cleaned or quarantined. You see fake antivirus messages from software you don’t remember installing. Programs are running or requesting elevated privileges that you did not install. Programs randomly crash.
- Your bank tells you. You receive a message about insufficient funds due to unauthorized charges.
- Your mail tells you. You receive a notification from a company that has recently suffered a cybersecurity breach.
Shake it off. Following are the steps you can take to recover.
- Change your affected passwords using an unaffected device. Not sure which passwords are affected? It’s best to change them all.
- Update your mobile software and apps. Make sure you keep them up-to-date.
- Update your antivirus software. Then run a complete scan. Follow the instructions provided to quarantine or delete any infected files.
- Update your browser software and plugins. Check frequently for new updates and delete any unnecessary or obsolete plugins.
- Is your computer still acting wonky? It might be best to start from scratch with a complete reformat of your machine so you can ensure that all affected software is fixed.
- Self-report to credit agencies. If you believe your personally identifiable information has been affected, you don’t want to deal with identity theft on top of being hacked.
- Be prepared with backups. Don’t let the next compromise ruin your day. Backup your files frequently. Consider storing at least two separate backups: one on an external drive and one in cloud storage.
- Stay ahead of the hackers. Check the Have I been pwned website to see if your accounts were hacked in a known attack.