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What To Do if Your Computer is Hacked

What To Do if Your Computer is Hacked

By RossBackup (510 words) | Posted in Support on January 23, 2015

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Have you recently downloaded something and noticed your computer is starting to act funny? Maybe you're seeing fake antivirus messages, getting spammed with unwanted popup ads, or getting redirected Internet searches when you open your browser.

Knowing you have a problem is the first step to a solution. Now comes the fun part - how do you remove this malicious software from your computer? If you catch it early, undoing the virus is a simple process. 

Figure out what type of virus is on your device

Hackers use click bait to make users mistakenly install their spying software. While most viruses are annoying but not directly harmful to your personal files, malware can mess with your private data. The most common affliction is the Trojan Horse, which contains a code that relays your information to the virus's source. When researching your virus's symptoms, use a different device if possible. Some track keystrokes and won't allow you to search for a solution.

Run a virus scanning program

Even top-notch antivirus programs can miss subtle software. Check out reviews for a virus-specific antivirus that has experience with the type of virus you're experiencing. You should never run two antiviruses at the same time because they could block each other out and fail to detect anything at all. If you insist, you can still download and run two, but wait until one is complete before you run the other. Sometimes a virus will be completely out of your control. You might not be able to do anything at all because it's taken control of your mouse, screens and actions. Shut your computer off immediately and bring it to a professional who can do further digging.

Bring your computer back to normal

To keep your computer from getting hacked by the same virus twice, reset all your settings. At minimum, you should update your operating system and change all of your passwords. Make sure to also check for "back doors," which are methods that bypass normal authentication procedures. They allow future access for the hacker, even when the virus is gone. Often, your internet programs will have a back door when the virus is installed. Uninstall and reinstall your browser, and make sure your email isn't being forwarded to another address.

Consider how to prevent it next time

A breach in a system you thought was reliable can be unnerving, but also a great opportunity to make an improvement. For starters, you should back up everything important on a cloud-based system in case your hard drive needs to be wiped. You may also want to think about getting a new antivirus that protects you against the worst virus software. Finally, be vigilant when surfing the internet. If a program looks suspicious, don't hit "download." Make sure everyone who uses your computer knows this also.

It isn't easy to bounce back from a virus, but having good Internet habits and a reliable way to keep your data safe can keep it from happening again.

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