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Most people believe that the majority that computer invasions and problems are caused by hackers, but that’s not the case. Truth is; it is more common for a computer to be hijacked than hacked. Well, I’ll tell you how to spot a hacked or hijacked computer, and what you can do to prevent both from happening.

1 – New programs installed
Sometimes you may see new programs or files to the computer. If you are the only user on the computer and new programs are installed, this could be an indication of a hacked computer. However, there are also several legitimate reasons why a new program may appear on the computer, such as operating system updates, plugins and free programs that usually encourage you to try their toolbar.

In any case, there’s always the chance that a hacker may have broken into your computer. Backdoors and Trojans are by far the most common programs to be installed on the computer after it has been hacked. These programs allow the hacker to gain access to the computer. Spyware, rogue antivirus programs, and malware can be an indication of a hacker. However, are more commonly a sign that your computer has been hijacked while on the Internet.

2 – Online passwords
Sometimes, after an online account is hacked, the attacker changes the password to your account. Try using the “forgot password”  feature to reset it. If your e-mail address has changed or this feature does not work, contact the company who is providing the service, they are the only ones who can reset your account.

3 – Spam e-mail being sent
When an e-mail account is hacked or taken over, the attacker almost always uses that account to spread spam and viruses. If your friends, family, or coworkers are receiving e-mail from you advertising something like Viagra, this means that your e-mail is compromised. You can fix this just by logging into your e-mail and changing your password.

Tip: E-mail addresses can also be spoofed without hacking the e-mail account. After changing the e-mail password, if your friends continue to get e-mails you have not sent, it is likely someone is spoofing your e-mail address.

5 – Increased network activity
For any attacker to take control of a computer, they must remotely connect to that computer. When someone is remotely connected to your computer, your Internet connection will be slower. Also, after the computer is hacked, it’s common that it starts to attack other computers.

Installing a bandwidth monitor program on your computer can help determine what programs are using bandwidth and how. Windows users can also use the netstat command to determine remote established network connections and open ports.

Please keep in mind that there are also dozens of other legitimate reasons why your Internet connection may also be slow, so don’t panic over a slow internet day

6 – Unknown programs wanting access
Computer security programs and firewalls help restrict access to programs on a network or Internet. If the computer asks for access to programs you do not know, rogue programs may be installed, or it may have been hacked. If you do not know why a program needs access to the Internet, we recommend blocking access to that program. If you later discover these blocks cause problems, it can be removed later.

Tip: A firewall prompting you for access may also just be someone trying to probe your network, looking for open or available ports in your network. Undesirable as is it, it may not be a hacker.

7 – Security programs uninstalled
If the computer’s antivirus, anti-malware, or firewall has been uninstalled or disabled, it can also be an indication of a hacked computer. A hacker may disable these programs to help hide any warnings that would appear while they are on the computer.

8 – Computer doing things by itself
When someone is remotely connected to a computer they can remotely control any device. For example, a mouse cursor could be moved or something could be typed. If you see the computer doing something as if someone else was in control, this can be an indication of a hacked computer.

9 – Internet browser home page changed or new toolbar
Internet browser changes such as your home page changing to a different web page, a new toolbar being added, your search engine changing, web pages getting redirected. These are all signs of a browser getting hijacked and not a computer hacker.

You now have the tools to spot a hacker that’s trying to get into your computer. Sometimes we can avoid them, but when you can’t, we come to the rescue. Call us Now!