This year, 2018, has seen global data breaches that put the personal and financial information of millions of people at risk. The events of this year and previous ones demonstrate the need for people to make their business and personal security a priority.
For many people, the ideal solution would be to avoid an attack; by combining regularly updated antivirus, a VPN service, and employing security best practices, to be protected.
Unfortunately, hackers always find a way to get around the latest security patches and restrictions — in order to attack. While it can be difficult to tell if your device has been hacked in some sophisticated cases, these are some signs you’ll notice in the event of an attack.
1. Unauthorised financial transactions
This is usually executed through a phishing attack. You may notice purchases you didn’t make reflecting on your bank statements. They usually start as small transactions you may brush off as miscellaneous expenses. But, the hackers may only be doing a test run, and they’ll start more expensive purchases once they sense your inability to detect them.
2. Your password wouldn’t work
In the world of cybercrime, phishing attacks are very common and usually effective. In order to fool users into sharing secure information, they use realistic-looking emails from trusted companies to target people. If one of your passwords stops working after such a ‘routine test’ don’t hesitate in reporting this potential breach to the company.
It is important to use strong unique passwords, but, for many people who have multiple accounts, they stick to one memorable password. This leaves their password easy to guess — especially when it’s shared with other accounts..
Using a password manager will allow you to store all your passwords, and only need to remember one.
3. Antivirus software is disabled
If your Task Manager is acting out of character and your antivirus disabled then, it’s very likely that your device has been tampered with. What you should do is to boot your device in ‘Safe Mode’. This restarts your device into its barest mode, so you can delete the affected software or backup your documents in case you need to perform a restore or a format.
4. Ransom messages
Sometimes hackers install malware on your device in order to block access to your data. When this is done, you get a message demanding payment for its release.
In order to avoid ransom attacks, get an antivirus package that includes Ransomware Protection. However, keeping updated backups for your files is a better way to ensure your files are safe, since some hackers will destroy your data even if you paid the ransom.
5. Your device has considerably slowed down
Some attacks don’t target your data. Rather, your infected device will be used subtly in the background. If you notice your device getting significantly slower, with webpages not loading correctly then, be wary of an attack.
You should contact your internet providers for info on your data usage. If you spot activity spikes that do not match your typical usage then, your device is infected and is probably being used as part of a botnet.