The following text is taken from a press release and in no way reflects the opinion of the editorial staff.
Hackers are usually low-key because the longer the victim is kept in the dark, the more attackers can monetize network access and online accounts. These telltale signs will allow you to quickly spot if you have unwittingly become one of their victims:
1) You receive a ransom note
Let’s start with the most obvious. You start the PC and only find a ransom demanding message instead of the usual boot screen. Chances are you are a victim of ransomware. It usually gives you a short time frame to pay in cryptocurrency and instructions on how to do so. But even if you follow them carefully, there’s a one in three chance that you won’t have access to your encrypted files.
2) A slow computer
If malware – Trojans, worms and cryptocurrency miners – are installed on a PC, they often slow it down. This is true for crypto-jacking attacks, which use excessive processing power and energy to mine cryptocurrency. Slow PC operation can also be the result of non-malicious factors, such as poor PC hygiene, but it is better to check if there is not something harmful going on.
3) The webcam turns on by itself
Some spyware is not only designed to collect data on a PC, but also to secretly activate the webcam and microphone. This allows criminals to record and steal videos of you and your family to use in blackmail attempts. Check if the webcam light works independently. Better yet, turn off the webcam completely with a sticky bandage.
4) Your friends receive unsolicited messages from your account
If your friends and contacts are complaining about spam from your email or social media account, your PC has definitely been compromised. A classic phishing tactic hijacks victims’ accounts, then uses them to spam or phish all of their friends. This can easily be remedied by ensuring that all accounts are protected by MFA.
5) Much more pop-up advertisements on screen
Adware makes money for the attacker by exposing victims to excessive ad volumes. If your PC is flooded with pop-up ads, it indicates that malicious code has probably been installed.
6) New toolbars appear in the browser
Malware can also install additional toolbars on the browser. If there’s one you don’t recognize or don’t remember downloading, your PC has probably been hacked. You need to restore your PC to factory settings in order to remove them.
7) Random icons appear
If malware is installed on a compromised PC, new icons often appear. These can be easily spotted if the PC is neatly organized into a small number of files, folders and programs. Consider better managing the icons on your PC.
Passwords/logins no longer work
If your PC has been compromised, attackers may have hacked into various online accounts, such as your email address, and changed passwords in order to lock you out. Dealing with the fallout can be one of the most stressful things about a cyberattack. This requires lots of discussions with your various online suppliers.
9) Data and identifiers circulate on the dark web
A company you do business with alerts you to a data breach, take it seriously and try to verify independently. Sites like HaveIBeenPwned? provide third-party confirmation of any breach. Dark web monitoring tools can also search for your data on cybercrime sites and other forums and are a more proactive way to stay informed. By acting quickly, changing passwords and/or blocking lines of credit, you can mitigate risk before hackers have even managed to monetize their attack.
10) You receive an AV (anti-virus) warning
Warnings from anti-malware tools should also be taken seriously, although fake AV pop-ups can be a persistent threat. Verify that the message is from your legitimate AV provider, then follow the instructions to find and remove malicious files on the PC. Do not assume that the warning received means that the AV tool will automatically clean the PC from this threat.
And then ?
Above all, don’t panic. If your PC has been compromised, run anti-malware software from a reputable vendor to find and remove any malicious code from the PC. Also consider:
• Reset all passwords for all accounts accessible from this PC
• Download an MFA application to mitigate additional risk of account compromise
• Invest in a dark web monitoring tool to check what data has been stolen/exposed
• Set up a credit hold so hackers can’t get new lines of credit in your name
• Monitor all accounts for suspicious activity, especially bank accounts.
If you are unsure whether the PC is completely wiped clean, reset the password from another device. Contact your anti-virus provider or bank for more advice.
About ESET For more than 30 years, ESET® has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure and consumers around the world against ever more sophisticated digital threats. From endpoint and mobile security to EDR, encryption, two-factor authentication, ESET’s lightweight and high-performance solutions protect and monitor 24/7, updating defenses in real time. in order to ensure the safety of users and businesses without interruption. Ever-evolving threats require a scalable IT security provider that enables the safe use of technology. This is supported by ESET R&D centers around the world, working to support our common future. For more information visit www.eset.com , or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and https://www.eset.com/be-fr/ .