Hackers attack every 39 seconds, reports the University of North Georgia. The same source states that one in three Americans fells victim to cybercrime each year.
You may be thinking that hackers only target large organizations. Nothing could be further from the truth. From high-school students and remote workers to small business owners, anyone can become a victim.
If your computer is hacked, you need to do something about it immediately. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of losing your data. Here are some tips to help you out!
Scan Your Computer
First things first, use an antivirus software program to scan your computer. However, this may not be possible if you fall victim to ransomware.
Next, check for other signs of cybercrime, such as suspicious pop-up ads. Pay attention to these red flags:
- You find new apps on your computer
- You get ransomware messages
- Your passwords are not working
- You notice changes to your home page
- Your online searches are being redirected to suspicious websites
- Your computer is slower than usual
A good antimalware program should be able to detect any viruses on your computer. If you still can’t figure out the problem, get help from experts as soon as possible.
Reset Your Passwords
The next thing you should do is reset your online passwords. Head over to Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and other websites you normally use. Change your passwords and then log out.
If you fall victim to ransomware, use a different device to reset your passwords.
Don’t forget about your online bank accounts. For example, if you use PayPal or Stripe, access the login page and reset your passwords. Remember to log out when you’re done.
Get a New IP Address
If your computer is hacked, you may need to reset the router and then get a different IP address. Whether or not these steps are necessary depends on the type of cyber attack you’re dealing with.
Reach out to your Internet provider to request a new IP address. You can also make this change yourself, but it requires some technical know-how. Be sure to change the admin password when resetting your router.
Contact Your Family and Friends
Let your friends, colleagues, and family members know that your computer has been hacked. Tell them that they might receive messages in your name.
Contact your bank as well, especially if you see any suspicious transactions. Keep an eye on your credit and checking accounts over the next few weeks.
Wipe Your Hard Drive
Depending on the type of attack, you may need to wipe your hard drive to prevent hackers from accessing your files. When you’re done, reinstall Windows or whatever operating system you use.
Save your files in the cloud or on a new external drive. You may also use a USB stick. If you have lost any files, reach out to a data recovery specialist immediately.
Know What to Do If Your Computer Is Hacked
Most people store sensitive information on their computers. Knowing that a stranger has access to your family photos, personal notes, and online accounts can be mind-wrecking.
If your computer is hacked, take action as soon as you can. Scan your PC, reset your passwords, and wipe the hard drive. Ideally, reach out to a computer repair expert to mitigate the risk of data loss.
Looking for other tips to keep your computer safe? You’re in the right place. Browse the rest of our blog for more information on data recovery, computers, and tech!