Has my computer been hacked is a question many people ask themselves, this is usually either because its acting differently, your friends have been getting bizarre emails from you, or worst case scenario money has gone missing from your bank account and you frequently do your banking from your computer.
How to tell if a computer has been hacked
It can be very hard to tell if a computer has been hacked, but Windows offers ways to track just about anything.
If you’re wondering has my computer been hacked Windows Event Viewer can be an easy way to tell.
Many versions of Windows have an event viewer; this allows us to check who has logged on at what time, to access this feature right click on computer, select Manage, Windows logs, Security, there will be lots of entries, but examine the ones with the task category Logon.
For someone to hack your computer they will need a way to actually get onto it, many users make it easy by not having passwords, or very easy ones.
The easiest way to tell if a computer has been hacked is to firstly check for any user accounts that you are not familiar with you, either disable or delete them, just make sure that they are not needed by any applications or other people using the computer.
Run frequent malware checks using a good application such as Malwarebytes or Windows security essentials, this should pickup and remove any malware such as key loggers.
If you’re thinking has my computer been hacked by all means run some of the checks above, but contact your bank immediately, even if you are not 100% sure it’s better to be safe than sorry
Preventing your computer getting hacked
Many hackers will generally look for easy targets, a bit like burglars, leave a window open and it’s an open invitation to some, so make sure your computer is secure, it’s really not difficult.
These are my top 10 must do to ensure that your computer is secure.
1. All user accounts must have good passwords, if you must use a name change characters around such as Richard to R1ch4rd! it’s still easy to remember but almost impossible to guess it.
2. Always make sure your using a good Windows antivirus/malware package, personally I use two Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes which I scan with once a week.
3. Windows patches must be kept up to date, don’t ignore the update messages, they are called security updates for a reason.
4. If you have a wireless network make sure you’re using wireless security and WPA, not the easier to crack WEP.
5. If you’re not using your internet or computer for a while, such as overnight power it off, not only does it save a little on your electrical costs, but once your router is online it does get noticed by all kinds of people, even if it’s well protected it’s a peace of mind thing.
6. Steer clear of P2P and other file sharing sites, they are an easy way to download a virus or other malware.
Computer Adviser has my computer been hacked article.
7. Email, never open email attachments unless your 100% sure it’s ok, even if a friend sends you an email double check they intended to send it, some viruses replicate by emailing themselves to all addresses in your contact list.
8. Never download any files you are not absolutely sure about, a big thing of late is the security virus, it’s actually a webpage, but looks like antivirus software scanning, click on it and it will install on your computer, will then prompt you to pay to remove any viruses and unlock your computer to remove it, which is just a scam.
Security viruses can be very tough to remove properly.
9. Complacency, the world of the hacker is always moving with new tools and security flaws being discovered pretty frequently, it’s an ongoing battle, one than we need to keep on top of in terms of ensuring we are using good antivirus/antimalware protection and our own security practices.
10. Your own awareness, of course all of the above rely on one thing; which is us to actually implement and maintain it, it can seem like a lot of work, but in effect should take less than 30 minutes, and once all in place only requires a small amount of work on your behalf going forward, such as weekly scans, Windows updates etc.