By: Joanna Sommer
June 5, 2017
Key Signs Your Smart Devices Have Been Hacked
By: Joanna Sommer
June 5, 2017
It is 2017 and computers, smartphones, and tablets - all smart devices - dominate our daily lives. We rely heavily on these devices for our work and business needs, as well as for our social, and dating lives. However, this dependence on technology can also make us vulnerable.
Is something sinister occurring when you use your computer or is it merely not operating to its full potential? Perhaps your smartphone or tablet is also acting up. Viruses are incredibly common and can affect more than just your PC. Let's uncover the key signs that you have been hacked.
Viruses commonly redirect your web browser to certain sites. This is generally an attempt to get you to pay money for a product or service on these web pages. So, if you keep finding yourself on sites you never searched for, then something is up.
First, make sure it is not the web page you are on that is doing the redirecting. Visit familiar websites that you know will not redirect you. Next, consider that a poorly set-up browser can also cause these issues. Try using a different browser for a while to find out. If you have established that neither of these is the case, then it is time to consider that you have been hacked by a virus.
Another related issue is that your homepage may have been changed without your knowledge. Although viruses can commonly do this, legitimate software may also be the culprit. When installing a new program, there is often a check box asking for permission to change your browser settings or homepage, which people often rush past without unchecking. Try changing your homepage back to normal, and if it keeps reverting to the unwanted site, then you may have a malware infection.
These pesky ads are a common occurrence when visiting certain websites. However, particular viruses can bombard you with these pop-ups, even when you are not using your web browser.
If your interface is being overloaded with pop-up boxes even when you are not surfing the web, then there is likely something wrong. Run a virus scan to determine the culprit and eliminate these annoying ads.
If you are experiencing very slow operating speeds, this is another indication of potential virus activity. First, make sure it is not caused by a resource heavy program operating in the background. Also check that your hard drive isn't running out of space, or that you have insufficient RAM for your day-to-day tasks. If you have assessed these factors and still believe your computer or device is running slowly for an unknown reason, then it could be a malware infection.
If you are seeing messages to your friends that you do not remember sending, then something is amiss. This often happens with email but could also occur through Facebook, Skype, or other communication platforms. The messages will often have a link attached in the hope that readers will click on it. The link will get directed to a site that might infect their computer, or encourage them to purchase something. They may also contain attachments that download malware directly to the person’s computer or device.
The first step you should take is letting the recipients of these messages know that they are not from you, and not to open them or click on any attachments/links included in the message. Afterward, it is time to run some quality anti-virus software so that your phantom messages do not cause any more drama for others.
Perhaps you have recently installed some antivirus software that may not be from the most reputable or well-researched location. Certain programs will run scans telling you that your system is overrun with thousands of infections, and then inform you that the only way to remove them is to upgrade to the full version. This version typically carries a heavy price tag.
These programs are known as Trojans. They appear to be helpful but are viruses themselves. Diligently research before downloading any antivirus software - or any software in general - to prevent trojans from inhabiting your system.
If you have experienced any of these signs and are concerned about the integrity of your system, do not wait. It’s important to create a smart lock on your computer. A strong firewall should be set up with regular scans and quality anti-malware software should be undertaken. Also, practice due diligence when opening strange email attachments, links, and downloading files you are unfamiliar with.
Taking these precautions grant security for your computer and other electronic devices. You will be able to work, play on social media, shop online, and more without constantly being under the looming shadow of a computer virus.
Joanna Sommer is the Senior Editor for InformedMag and is passionate about security and tech. She has been working in the home safety and security field for 5 years. Joanna loves to travel and enjoys going to hot yoga and Barre classes. She is dedicated to creating articles that both educate and help people make an informed purchasing decision.