Losing a close friend is one of those experiences that haunts you until the end of your life.
My friend's ID was hacked one day, and the hackers published some of her private photographs online the next day, and I woke up the next morning to learn that she had committed suicide.
Despite the fact that the perpetrators were later arrested and appropriate action was taken against them, the damage had already been done.
What's more upsetting is that hacking continues to devastate the lives of many people in one way or another to this day, and the situation is only getting worse.
According to Forbes, hackers hack 30 thousand new websites per day on average. Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, which is why users must be vigilant and understand what they are doing with their accounts and passwords.
The aim of this article is to inform readers about how to determine if they have been hacked, what they can do to minimize the damage after being hacked, and how to avoid being hacked in the future.
How will you know if you have been hacked or not
Being hacked does not always result in the loss of money and access to online accounts; therefore, it is critical to be aware of other signs of unusual activity as well as ensuring that your online behaviour is as secure as possible.
It is not always easy to prevent malware so knowing what is on your computer or phone will assist in reducing the harm that successful hackers may cause with your details or confidential information.
Check for notifications from applications that you didn't install. Malware can occasionally install counterfeit software on your computer, changing your settings or prompting you to provide sensitive information.
Many hackers earn a fortune by rerouting your browser to a location that you don't wish to visit.
The hacker is paid by having your clicks appear on someone else's website, usually individuals who are unaware that the clicks are coming from a criminal redirection.
- Change of information on your social media accounts:
Hackers can also alter information on your social media account. They may, for example, change your email address, login, or password. So always check for unusual settings in your social media account.
- Harmful emails sent from your account to others:
Sometimes your friends will say that they received some weird emails from you. This is a clear sign that your email has been hacked. Many of our social media accounts, credit card details, and bank information are linked with our email account. So your email ID is an obvious target for hackers.
To understand whether a hacker has targeted your computer, look for obvious signs such as the inability to update your operating system, your machine running slower than usual, suspicious disk activity, strange pop-ups on your screen, or the unauthorised disabling of your antivirus.
- Big security breach & news outlets:
When a significant security breach happens, news outlets go berserk. You can check the website of the targeted service to determine if you were hacked, but you should presume you were. The one saving grace is that because you're one of the millions, the hackers may never get as far as fiddling with your personal information. Also, don't assume your anti-virus to defend you from a security compromise that occurs on a remote server.
After realizing that you have been hacked there are some immediate steps you can take to take control of your account or your machine.
Whatever service has been impacted, you should reset your password as early as possible. You should update your password not only on the account that has been hacked but on any other service that uses the same or similar password.
The great thing is that most online social media networks have straightforward procedures for reclaiming your account from someone who has seized control of it. Twitter, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple all have their own approaches. They'll usually ask you a series of questions concerning your account to confirm your identity. Likewise, different websites use different methods to verify your authenticity but they are very easy to use.
- Let your credit card provider know:
Identity theft is one of the most common crimes committed following a hacking incident. As a result, you should carefully consider the security of your credit. Notify all of the major credit reporting companies that your account has been hijacked. After that, you can put a hold on your credit. Depending on your credit card service provider and whether you've already made a police complaint, it might be free or charged.
- Telling associates about your security breach:
The risks of hacking aren't limited to you. It's probable that the hackers will try to mislead your contacts into sending money to your account. So letting your friends and family know that you have been hacked is a good way to prevent further harm.
- Reporting to the authorities:
The Cyber Crime Investigation Division prioritizes the fight against hackers and other suspect internet hackers. Always alert the authorities if you are hacked and fear you may be in serious legal problems because of it. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to report cybercrime.
- System scan & Data backup:
If you think hackers have injected malware into your device, you should conduct a security check on your computer with a top antivirus application and malware detector, which can help you locate and remove any applications hiding on your hard drive, ready to cause additional harm. To be on the safer side, try backing up your data and reinstalling your operating system.
Prevention of Future hacking
Defeating hackers can be a difficult task, and it can be baffling for general users. However, there are some precautions that can be taken to ensure better safety.
The thing that keeps our accounts safe is a password. Unfortunately, people use short, simple passwords to protect themselves. Try using long passwords with numbers, upper and lower case letters, and punctuation marks. You can also use password managers to track your passwords and usernames.
Make sure your password manager's password is not related to your passwords used in your social media and other accounts. There are some great password managers out there like BItwarden, Zoho Vault.
- Answer security questions:
Security questions are a great way to claim your account after getting hacked. Try answering security questions with answers only you know.
- Installing antivirus in your system:
Use antivirus software to keep your devices safe from malware. It is a good idea to keep all of your software up to date, as companies are constantly adding new security patches. There are a bunch of antivirus software you can choose from such as Avast, Kaspersky, and Norton 360.
- Two-factor Authentication:
Two-factor authentication, which asks users to input a password as well as to authenticate their access with another device, such as a code texted to their phone, is a useful approach to keep attackers at a distance. More and more businesses are making it a requirement to log in.
Avoid sharing personal information while using public wifi like those found in cafes, restaurants, shopping malls, and other places. Public wifi is full of loopholes and hackers often try to exploit them. It is a good idea to backup important information and data every once in a while.