At ITbuilder we offer complete managed services to not only prevent your systems from being hacked but also to offer immediate support if they are. However, as an individual user you may be facing the prospect by yourself and in today’s multi network landscape the chances of getting hacked are increasingly high. Hacking can easily occur via email, social network or by you accidental downloading a malware program thinking it was something else.

The first step is to recognise that you have indeed fallen victim to hacking so here are ITbuilder’s 3 sure signs you’ve been hacked.


# 1: A fake antivirus message

Fake antivirus warning popups are one of the surest signs that you have been hacked. Unfortunately by the time you see them it’s probably too late and clicking cancel or stop won’t help. The malicious has probably already made use of unpatched software to completely exploit your system. The lure is usually a fake scan warning which finds a ton of fake viruses on your machine and then requests that you pay to remove them.  The unfortunate thing about this hack is that they will have access to your computer system and your credit card details!

Action: Shut down your pc and boot up again in safe mode with absolutely no networking. Try to uninstall the new software in your control panel to restore your system to its previous state. Follow up by scanning the system using your legitimate antivirus software.

#2: Unwanted browser toolbars

This is probably the second most common sign that your system has been exploited. Again as with the first point you may have unwittingly initiated the hack yourself. If you recently downloaded music, movies or anything else you may not have noticed a box asking you if you agree to the settings or want custom settings. This can be a sneaky way of getting you to agree to a bogus toolbar and possibly something more sinister. In this instance it is usually advisable to select “custom settings” in which you can uncheck the additional toolbar option.

Action: Removing a dodgy browser toolbar isn’t always easy. If you have looked in your control panel and it isn’t there then see if your browser has an option to reset back to default (annoying because you will lose book marks but necessary). It is then advisable to restart again in safe mode and run a scan. Usually this type of hack is not malicious in the sense of spyware or spam but is more annoying as it is forcing you to use a toolbar you didn’t want and that usually isn’t good anyway!

#3: Your friends receive fake emails from you

This one can be really embarrassing especially from a business perspective. Email viruses have also moved over to social networks where it can be common for the virus to message all your friends who then open the attachment and continue to spread it. Often the messages are convincing with headlines such as “look at my holiday photos” or “you have to see this video”.

Action: Usually it is your contacts who will tell you about this hack. As soon as you realise then you should notify your social network or email list to ensure that people are not opening any attachments claiming to be from you. Immediately change any passwords associated with that network and run an anti virus scan.

With all of these hacks it is helpful if you have a support team who can help you out. If you are resolving the problems yourself then you should be wary about future security and the documents you are storing because a compromised computer without professional intervention can never be fully trusted again.

If in doubt why not chat with the ITbuilder team