You may have heard of hacking in the news, but not everyone has a clear understanding of what it means.
Hacking happens when a person gains access to a network or computer without the owner’s permission.
Hackers can then take control of files, steal personal information, and sell it for profit.
If you suspect that someone is accessing your private data without permission, here are some signs to help you determine whether your devices and accounts have been compromised.
1. Your device is running slow
One significant warning sign that you’ve been hacked is that your device is running sluggishly.
For example, if you notice your computer taking longer than usual to boot up or load software, this could indicate that someone has hacked into your device and installed malware onto its registry or on the hard drive itself.
2. Your device runs out of battery quickly
Another sign that you’ve been hacked is that your device is running out of battery quicker than usual.
“As the malware that hackers have installed into your device runs in the background, it drains your device’s battery.”
If you notice your device dying faster than it should, there’s a possibility that someone is trying to hack into your system and steal data from you or cause some type of damage.
3. Your webcam light is on when you are not using it
This is one of the most obvious signs that you’ve been hacked.
For example, if your laptop or desktop webcam has mysteriously started to turn on without being prompted, this could be because someone has accessed it remotely and turned it on without permission.
However, even if this is the most apparent sign of hacking, it isn’t always reliable.
A webcam’s indicator light lets you know when it’s on or off, but hackers can still disable this light when they use your webcam, making it harder to tell if it’s compromised.
4. Files are deleted without your knowledge or permission
Having files deleted from your device without your knowledge or permission could be a sign of hacking.
Hackers may be trying to cover their tracks and get rid of any evidence.
It may not be noticeable at first as we don’t go to check the ‘recycle bin’ on our computers or our ‘recently deleted’ on our phones that often.
But if you see that there are files in there that you don’t remember ever making or deleting, it’s safe to assume that your device has been hacked.
5. Spam mail is being sent with your email address
Sometimes hackers start sending spam emails to everyone on your contact list to get more people infected with malware and viruses.
Check the emails you’ve sent to see if there are any you don’t remember sending out, or ask the people in your contacts if they’ve recently received a suspicious email from you.
Remember that hackers will always try to cover up their tracks, so they might also delete traces of those spam emails.
6. You can’t log in to your social media accounts.
You might not be able to log in to your social media accounts because a hacker has taken over them.
They could have changed the passwords, blocked you from accessing them, and even deleted content that was yours on these platforms.
You might want to check if this happened or if the platform itself is malfunctioning.
7. You’re receiving receipts of purchases or subscriptions you didn’t authorise
It’s not uncommon for hackers to steal your credit card information and make false purchases with it.
If you’re receiving receipts for these transactions, this could signify that someone hacked into your system or got more access by stealing personal data from you.
Check your online accounts to see if there are any subscriptions that you didn’t sign up for.
Hackers may have inserted those subscriptions in your bank account or on your credit card so that they can charge you extra money every month.
Even if you don’t see any of these warning signs but still have major suspicions that you’re being hacked, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and take your device to a professional to get it checked and fixed up.
Prevention is still the best solution.
Meanwhile, you can avoid the hassle of looking out for signs of hacking on your device by being careful and practicing basic internet security.
From making your passwords strong to keeping your antivirus software updated, there are several ways to make sure you’re protected from the dangers of cybercriminals out there.