Signs your computer was hacked
Living in a digital world has its perks, but it also comes with some risks. One of those risks: hackers accessing your smartphone and computer. You may have heard about hackers installing spyware on computers, but what exactly is spyware? “Spyware is any piece of software that collects and transmits information without the user’s consent and with covert methods,” shares Steven Solomon, co-founder and former CTO of Arcutek. It is used to gather information on a target, usually passwords, credit card, and financial information, system files, and, in extreme cases, keylogging and screen capture, he says.
Since hackers can get this sensitive information, it’s important to stay alert about what’s happening on your computer – especially if something odd comes up. Here are some signs your computer was hacked, and what you can do about it.
Your computer starts running slower
If your computer suddenly starts taking forever to turn on or open up applications, that could be a symptom of malware infection, especially a worm or a Trojan horse, warns Sophie Miles, CEO and co-founder of elMejorTrato.com. “This happens because malicious software consumes too many CPU resources, which overloads your computer and causes it to run much slower than normal,” she says. However, computers can be slow for a host of other reasons, including lack of maintenance, full hard disk, overheating of the processor, and more, so it’s not a definitive sign that it has a bug.
Your fans go into hyperspeed
“One the simplest ways to tell if a machine or mobile device has spyware, crypto-mining malware, or other viruses that consume processing power is paying attention to the physical temperature and battery life of the machine,” says Bill Siegel, founder of Coveware. So if your phone suddenly needs to be charged three or four times a day, its fan is running more than half the time, and it is always hot in your pocket or handbag, this can be a sign that malware is running and burning a significantly higher amount of CPU power.