“Have I Been Hacked?”

Despite your valiant efforts to protect your network and data, sooner or later you may suffer a breach. 

Since you're ultimately responsible for keeping your computer and systems out of harm's way, it is important to recognize the signs of a breach in order to minimize the damage quickly and effectively. 

1. Be aware of Defacement

This is a breach where a hacker vandalizes your system. This kind of breach is commonly seen on websites. The hacker will "graffiti" a business's website to display an ideological message, promote a hacker or group, or distribute malware to unsuspecting victims who visit your site. 

Taking Corrective Measures  

Take the next steps if your website falls victim to defacement: 

  • If your site is hosted or maintained by an external party, notify them as soon as possible and have them take the necessary steps to remediate the problem. 

  • Reset all passwords to website administrator accounts. 

  • Replace all files located on the website server with files from an isolated or standalone backup source. 

  • Consider temporarily removing or quarantining your website until the situation has been rectified and all website links created by the hacker have been removed. 

2. Be aware of Malware

Your device seems slower than before. That's right! Where we normally attribute poor speed performance to the age of the device, poor internet connection, or the latest update download... malware could actually be the cause.  

Malware running on a computer can slow down a device's connection to the internet or even internal networks. So, how can you tell if your device is running slow due to malware or due to a more common issue like you're running low on memory? You can run your Task Manager for Windows or Activity Monitor for Mac to see if malware is interfering with these programs. If they fail to run, your computer may be infected.

Another program that gets impacted by malware is the Registry Editor. If this fails to run, malware infection may have occurred. As always, immediately reach out to your IT team if you suspect your computer has been compromised.

3. Odd, I didn't get it.  

If you start noticing that your colleagues and friends are not receiving your emails, or your emails are bouncing back as spam. You may have been breached. 

Someone or something has altered your email configuration in order to turn over your messages through another server that allows the hacker to read or change your email content causing the receiver's security systems to flag it as dubious. 

As we have mentioned before, you don't have to receive a ransomware message or have a complete meltdown of your device to have been breached. Little things like... 

  • Your device suddenly restarts 

  • You are routed to the wrong website or to bad websites 

  • Your hard drive light never turns off 

  • Your language settings are changed 

  • Pop-ups start appearing 

  • Unexpected charges on your phone or internet bill 

  • Unexplained increased use of data, text messaging, or network traffic 

These things can be signs that malware has infected your device(s). 

You have a greater chance of preventing a hack or recovering from an attack if you can identify the signs of one. Unfortunately, most people ignore the warning signs of a cyberattack until it’s too late. 

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