Monday, April 4, 2011

Top 10 Signs your computer has been Hacked, and a bunch of other less common signs

Most Common Hacks:

  1. Your computer seems to be working overtime – the fan is on, the disk is spinning away, but nothing’s happening.
  2. It takes a very long time to open programs and perform simple tasks.
  3. Your bandwidth slows to a trickle and it seems to take forever to download pages that you know shouldn’t take a long time to load (like Google).
  4. Your email client’s Sent Items folder contains messages you’ve never seen and/or you get emails from people you know asking why you sent them an email spam message.
  5. If your computer was able to print yesterday, but it’s not able to today, you might have a virus on your system. Remember that malware is sometimes created for no other reason than to cause hassles.
  6. Pop-up ads advertising anti-virus programs are a sign that your system might be infected. These are advertisements that will show up frequently, often have typos in them, and encourage you to buy their antivirus package.
  7. One of the things that a virus will do is to attempt to disable the programs which are designed to protect against them. If you see that your virus protection is off (marked by an X) and you didn’t turn it off, you might have been compromised.
  8. The hard drive light is on and the computer sounds like it’s straining when you are not running any significant processes. Computers will sometimes do regular maintenance during idle times, but make sure that you get your machine checked out for viruses. Someone might be using your resources to do their nefarious bidding.
  9. Unexplained crashing is one of the best ways to discover that your computer’s security is compromised. Viruses will often give your OS rules that it cannot abide by to make it tumble and fall. Check out unusual activity with an antivirus program.
  10. When you return to your desktop, make sure that everything is where you left it. If the wall paper has changed, or there seem to be more icons, or even if they’ve just been rearranged, you might have a virus or some malware on your machine. Check the start menu to see if new software has been added.
 Less Common Hacks:


  1. Hackers disable your Daylight Savings Time
  2. The clock on the desktop can be one hour behind or one hour ahead on
  3.  occasion.
  4. Your Network Places Icon on the desktop disappears.
  5. If using a Windows platform, when you start your computer, your original screen will pop up, but since the hackers need to boot into their server, the system will quickly re-boot and the original screen will appear twice instead of only once. Your system may re-boot twice instead of once when loading some OEM versions.
  6. If your computer system occasionally re-boots on its own, again, the hacker may need to update their Hosts and Servers to make the computer system function properly.
  7. If you play Online Games, you may find yourself being kicked out of the board you’re playing in. What is worse is if you’re winning a game and you’re the host of the board, the hacker may kick you out and not let you back in. When a computer system is hacker proof, you will rarely get booted out of an Online Game.
  8. A browser you install to filter out or kill file certain individuals on the internet will not work for a long time. When your computer system is hacked, you aren't able to filter out people in your browsers or email application for more then 1-2 days. A number of computer owners who’s system was hacked have advised me they had the same problem. Because hackers are using your illegally installed Hosts and Servers for posting to the internet, this is why you can’t filter or kill file them. This information was very apparent to myself and other ferret owners whose computer was hacked.
  9. When you begin to see Usenet remarks made on behalf of your personal life which is private information.
  10. Some of your personal files are modified years before they were created. You have seen a number of personal files modified 7-8 years before they were even created.
  11. You find a number of files hidden/readable only which hackers seem to make their files hidden/readable only.
  12. When you find a number of added information in your boot.ini file which relate to a Virtual Private Network . These can be either software, hardware or device driver oriented.
  13. Under Search for Files and Folders, you do a search on any file modified in the past month and you will see files which just don’t need to be modified or which you don’t even recognize. For the newbie, you want to focus on the file you don’t recognize. Unless your skilled and realize which files need to be present and modified running a Windows Platform, you won’t know what to look for. To perform the above you will need to see all hidden files and folders.
  14. Select Start, Settings, Control Panel, Network, and if you see one AOL adapter and have never used AOL. Two AOL adapters, two TCP/IP, two Dial-Up adapters, one or two Virtual Private Network adapters your computer could be hacked/owned. A Virtual Private Network is widely used by malicious hackers because it can host up to 254 users. "This applies to the average internet user who has one modem, one ISP and isn’t running any FTP, NNTP, Proxy, SMTP, SQL, Web Server".
  15. You can’t “shutdown”, you have to hit the power button, or unplug you’re computer on a some-what regular basis.
  16. You find your CD-ROM drive open and close without your permission.
  17. You could hear an annoying beep coming from your system speakers.
  18. Your windows screen goes horizontal or vertical.
  19. The screen saver picture changes without your permission.
  20. On occasion your mouse is out of your control. This could also be caused by a corrupt mouse driver, or a dirty mouse of course.
  21. All of a sudden, your speakers decide to play you some music.
  22. Installing a hardware or firewall for the first time can cause a number of different problems for you to set-up and configure. Considering you didn't have these installed from the beginning of going on the internet.
  23. Your firewall logs show alerts at 12:00 then 11:22 then 12:16 and
  24. back to 11:59.
  25. If using a dial-up connection you see a number of pings, port 0 to your computer. The reason for these pings is so the hackers can see if your computer is active/alive. What the hackers actually do is port scan the Internet Service Provider Block of addresses and find your computer either with file sharing enabled or a Backdoor/Trojan.
Scary Stuff huh? What can you do about it.Well, most of us don't have the time to look and watch over our computers 24-7, nor do we want to. We can use the best Anti-this and Anti-that software in the world, but keep this in mind...Even the US Government, Facebook, YouTube, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, Banks and countless others get hacked from time to time.

The best Advice I can give, is not to worry, and don't even try to manage your own security, let someone else do it. There are a ton of what are known as "Manage Service Providers". Most of these only deal with Mid-Large Companies with Servers and tons of workstations. What they do is monitor the companies Networks, Attacks, Hack attempts, Malicious Software, Hardware 24/7, to help minimize the damage.

That's great for companies, but what about the Home User? Well, there is just such services available for us too. I recommend GFI's Remote Monitoring for Home Users from Private i(T)

1 comment:

  1. It’s really hard to tell when your system’s gonna be overrun by the hackers. That’s why it’s important to find ways on how you can protect your server and files from being exposed. Thanks for the lists you gave. Those would be of great help.

    Nannie Salyard

    ReplyDelete