Securing your electronic devices against hacking is of paramount importance these days. It can be shocking to realize that you have become a victim of cybercrime, especially if you are the unwitting perpetrator of your own being hacked.
Smartphone and computer usage has increased by leaps and bounds. People are either using these devices at home or work, which makes them prime targets for hackers both individuals and governments alike. In a recent study by Pew Internet, 93% of American adults use the internet. This makes it easy for hackers to target them with malware and computer viruses, which can both capture information about you and damage your device.
It is not only the case that hackers will target individuals to get access to their private data, but also target companies, private and public alike. For instance, during the 2013 holiday season, it was reported that Target had 40 million credit card numbers compromised by hackers.
If you feel that your electronic devices have been hacked, here are some signs you should look for:
Your Login Details Don’t Work Anymore
You may not realize that you’ve been hacked, because the hacker may have changed all of your passwords. If you find that your login details for email accounts, social media platforms, and even workstations no longer seem to work, this might be a sign that someone else has taken over your online accounts.
You’re Getting Spam
If you suddenly start getting spam in your inbox from random companies it may be a sign that hackers have compromised your computer and are using it to send out spam emails without your knowledge. In addition to spammers targeting you directly, they can also target other people using fake emails which appear to come from legitimate sources.
For instance, the Nigerian prince scam email is so popular because scammers know they only need a small percentage of recipients who will fall for their tricks to make a lot of money.
Your Friend’s Accounts are Being Accessed
Do you notice that hackers are logging into your friends’ social media accounts, but they aren’t doing anything? This is a sign something isn’t right, because these hackers are looking for personal information about your friends online. The first step to keeping hackers away from you is keeping your friends safe. If their accounts are being hacked it increases the risk that yours will be hacked soon as well.
You’re Getting Phone Calls From Strange Places
The internet allows people to make international phone calls without even leaving home! This can be very convenient if you live in one country and visit another regularly, but if someone who lives near you starts calling you internationally this might be a sign that hackers have somehow stolen their phone number and are misusing it to contact you.
Your Searches on the Computer Suddenly Change
If you search the internet for random subjects or check your email from another location, but then suddenly things start randomly changing this could be a sign that your computer files and settings have been altered. Hackers often make slight changes to your computer settings like default browsers and web pages to gain access to different types of information if they can’t access one type of data, they’ll try something else until they find what they’re looking for. For example, if you’re a daily user who searches for online dates on a sugar daddy website, hackers may change your browser’s default landing page to that website without you knowing.
You Don’t Recognize Downloaded Files
It may seem like downloads go pretty quickly these days, but there is usually a point where you have to wait a few seconds or even minutes before the next page appears. If you start noticing that downloads take longer than usual, don’t download any more files and run an anti-virus scan on your computer right away.
Your Phone Battery is Draining Quicker Than Usual
Hackers can access your laptop or phone from anywhere in the world if they use an international SIM card, so if you see a spike in usage of battery power it could be a sign there’s something wrong with your device. Hackers may also install data-heavy applications which drain your battery life very quickly without your knowledge. In addition to draining power from the device itself, this software will also use up wireless internet bandwidth.
You Can’t Uninstall Apps that Were Already Removed
If you keep trying to use an app on your phone or tablet and it keeps giving you a message saying the app is not available at this time, this could be a sign hackers have installed a version of it onto your device without your knowledge. In some cases when apps are removed from Google Play, they can still appear in the list of applications even if they don’t work properly. If removing an application from the app store doesn’t completely remove all traces of it from your phone there may be something wrong with it.
Your Phone’s Camera Is Acting Up
Sometimes when people try to take selfies for fun their phones will automatically adjust exposure settings in weird ways. If you notice your phone is constantly changing the exposure settings for no reason this could be a sign someone has hacked into your phone and altered how it works.
Someone Asks You to Do Something Illegal
This tip is fairly obvious, but hacking victims often forget to apply common sense when it comes to their devices. If somebody messes with your computer or tries to convince you to download something that sounds sketchy without an official app store, walk away immediately! Hackers often communicate with people by instant messaging them on certain websites like Facebook Messenger because they know these people tend to use the same passwords across different sites. That’s why they try very hard to avoid sending emails or posting anything written in English because they don’t want the victim to recognize their writing style. If somebody messes with your Facebook password, they’ll change it right away so you can’t log in and find out who sent you that suspicious message in the first place. However, in most cases when hackers take over your smartphone or tablet, the only real sign that something has gone wrong is a drop in wifi connectivity. That’s why smartphone owners need to connect to an available open wifi network whenever they’re at home or work even if they don’t plan on using any apps or browsing the internet because hackers often hack these encrypted networks too!
Hacking is a serious crime that affects thousands of people every single day, but there are simple steps everyone can take to prevent it from happening in the first place. A lot of hacking victims say they never thought their computer could get hacked before it happened because nobody ever told them how to protect themselves from hackers. It’s vital to always keep your devices updated with the latest security patches and anti-virus software so you don’t fall victim to ransomware or Trojans. If updating a device seems like a complicated process, don’t be afraid to ask a friend for help!