With new and ever more inventive ways in which experienced hackers have become, it can be difficult to know when they hack your computer. Your computer can become compromised without you without realizing it.
Protect Your Computer Or Device From Hackers
Unusual Activity on your Computer
One of the most obvious signs is your computer doing anything strange while you are using it. Even more so when you have just left it on without using it and things are different when you come back to it. For example, if you are sending emails using a webmail client such as Gmail or Outlook.com, and you are logged out without warning then prompted to log back in. This can show that an attack has occurred on your computer and the attacker is using your account for their own purposes.
Run a full system scan with your anti-virus program before changing your password.
Weak Passwords are an Easy Target
Passwords are a huge issue and easy target for hackers. They can even buy software packages designed to scan all kinds of possibilities for passwords. This means that if you use something as simple as your birthday month, the date of a holiday, or a simple combination of numbers or letters, your password can be easily broken.
Using longer passwords will make it harder for these programs to break your password. A lot of online services use a so-called “two-step” authentication system for your important programs, such as your email. If someone tries to use your account, they are asked for a special code from one of your devices such as a mobile phone. The user must log in with that code to gain access to the account. This is a simple and effective option to use and difficult to bypass.
Who’s Watching You?
Your webcam is another area to be aware of. If you do not disable it, you could unwittingly allow a remote hacker watch you. Be careful as even disabling the webcam can be overcome and allow the hacker to view the images from it. If your camera is a separate device, disconnect it from your computer. If it is built-in to the monitor or laptop lid, cover the lens with opaque tape. With mobile devices this threat is very common and real. Cyber-attacks and bullying cases are on the rise each day. Don’t become a victim, only enable your webcam when you are intending to use it.
The Sting in the Tail
Hackers love to use things like Smilies, emoji, screensavers, “free” game downloads and coupon finders to infect your computer. Most of these are called “Trojan Horses” which, like the one in the story, look good on the outside but inside are viruses and other malware just waiting to get out. If one of these pops onto your screen, just close it.
Watch Your Emails
Even with the rise of texting and instant messaging, email is still more widely used. This presents another common way for hackers to infect your computer. You can often spot the fake emails because they often seem to come from companies you do not deal with or have very poor spelling and grammar. A general rule of thumb is “Don’t click on links in an email, go to the target website and follow the links there.”
Preventative Measures Anyone Can Take
Create a Walled Garden
As all devices connect to the internet and each other a special software, or sometimes hardware, called a Firewall acts as a gatekeeper. Most domestic routers or modems have such capabilities built-in. You can often add a Firewall directly to your device, preventing local connections as well as remote. Always make sure that you have a Firewall turned on, and always keep it updated.
Your anti-virus prevents viruses and malware from infecting your device. Hackers create new viruses all the time, you must often update your anti-virus software to work effectively.
Now that you know how hackers get onto your devices, you can take steps to help prevent this from happening.