Being hacked is the single biggest fear of most computer users. Many believe the first sign of strange behaviour or errors on their PC is a sign that hackers have taken control. But are hackers really inside your machine, stealing your information? Or should we be on the lookout for more subtle signs? What does being hacked really look like?
There is an important distinction to make between being hacked by a person and being infected with a virus or malware. Virus software and malware are automated processes designed to damage your system, steal your data, or both.
Logins not working
One of the first steps a hacker might take would be to change the computer’s passwords. By doing so, not only do they ensure future access to the account, they prevent you from accessing the system to stop them. For the hacker, this is a crucial step that keeps them in control. Read our blog here on how you can make online logins safer.
Security Emails or SMS from online services
Many services track which device and location you logged into your account from last. If your account is accessed from a new device or a different country it might trigger an automated email or SMS to ask if this new login is your own.
Bank accounts missing money or strange transactions
Most commonly today, hackers commit crimes to steal money. The end goal for hackers is typically to profit from their crimes by taking money from people online.
You may see a large sum missing where hackers have attempted to take as much as they can in a single transaction. Alternatively small, hard to notice transactions may also appear. These often account for small purchases where attackers have tested the details they have to make sure they work.
Sudden loss of cellular connectivity
Network interruption is a symptom that few people expect but occurs commonly when hackers attack. Many banks and online services use a security feature known as Two-factor authentication. To do this they send a short code to your phone or app when you log in.
Hackers can try to work around this by calling your mobile service provider to report your phone as lost or stolen. During this call, they will request your phone number be transferred to a new sim card that they control. When your bank sends its regular two-factor authentication code to the number registered, it goes instead to the hacker who may be able to log in.
These are only some of the modern techniques that hackers can try to use to gain access to your accounts. It pays to be extra vigilant and pay close attention to the signs and signals that indicate you may have been hacked.
If you suspect that your business’ computer might have been hacked, or would like help to prevent hackers in the future, our ITM experts can help. Contact us today.