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5 Ways to Spot If Your Computer Has Been Hacked

By Go2IT

5 Ways to Spot If Your Computer Has Been Hacked

When you suspect that your computer or network has been compromised, the natural response is often panic. Yet, how you proceed in the wake of a breach can truly determine the outcome, whether it’s a minor setback or a catastrophic event leading to legal repercussions, substantial fines, and severe disruptions to your business operations.

In today’s article, we’ve tapped into the expertise of our cybersecurity professionals to outline the key indicators of a compromised system, as well as provide you with a clear roadmap of the five essential steps to take immediately upon detecting any breach in your network. These proactive measures are vital in mitigating irreversible damage and protecting your digital assets.

Signs of an Issue

According to IBM’s latest cybersecurity report, data breaches typically remain undetected and unreported for an astonishing average of 277 days. This seemingly implausible timeframe underscores the stealthy nature of cyber threats. Despite the potential for swift and substantial damage posed by malware, viruses, keylogging, and other malicious agents, many users fail to recognize the telltale signs until irreversible harm has already been inflicted.

Moreover, several primary indicators of a breach often masquerade as symptoms of a sluggish or outdated computer or operating system. Should you encounter any of these red flags, it’s prudent to promptly engage your IT team. Whether it’s a malicious attack or not, they possess the expertise to navigate the situation effectively. They can either implement necessary security measures or address system performance issues by updating software or replacing hardware. Here are some key signs that your system may be compromised:

  • – Sluggish computer or network performance
  • – Frequent freezes or abrupt crashes
  • – Sudden influx of pop-up notifications
  • – Locked user accounts
  • – Unanticipated alternations to files
  • – Anomalies in system behavior, such as continued activity post-shutdown
  • – Unusual account activity

What To Do Next

Experiencing any of these issues can be concerning, and the actions you take next are crucial. Here’s the guidance from our team of experts:

Isolate the Incident

Take the network offline to contain the situation but refrain from turning off or rebooting the device. While restarting may seem like a quick fix for technical glitches, it can exacerbate matters when dealing with malware. In certain cases, rebooting could trigger a file-encryption process, resulting in irreversible data loss. Disconnect the device from the network while leaving it powered on as you proceed.

Engage Your IT Team Immediately

Contact your IT team without delay. Rapid response is essential to prevent further spread of the breach and mitigate its impact. Attempting to resolve the issue independently, such as running system cleanup or antivirus software, can be counterproductive and potentially worsen the situation. Seek professional assistance to address the breach effectively.

Consult Your Attorney

It’s crucial to seek legal counsel promptly. Depending on the severity of the breach, your attorney may recommend engaging external legal experts with specialized knowledge in privacy and data security laws. Understanding the legal implications and obligations is crucial for navigating the aftermath of a breach effectively.

Secure Accounts and Change Passwords

While the IT team works on containment, prioritize securing your accounts by changing passwords. This step is vital to safeguard any unaffected accounts and mitigate further risks. If possible, enable multifactor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security. Begin with accounts containing sensitive financial information such as credit card details and Social Security numbers.

Monitor Bank Accounts

Since financial motives often underpin cyberattacks, promptly monitor your bank accounts and payment processing platforms. Check for any irregularities or unauthorized transactions. Pay particular attention to third-party merchant accounts and employee payroll systems for any suspicious activity.

In the event of a cyberattack, additional measures, such as implementing a PR communications strategy and notifying relevant authorities, may be necessary. However, the priority is swift containment and engaging qualified cybersecurity professionals. Time is of the essence in such situations.

For ongoing protection against cyber threats, consider scheduling a FREE cybersecurity assessment with our reliable and trustworthy team. These assessments comprehensively evaluate your network for vulnerabilities and devise tailored strategies to address them proactively. Prevention is far more cost-effective than remediation, so secure your assessment today through our website or by calling 440-471-8210.

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