Any unexpected activity that originates from a user's computer account, including email and access to specific websites, or change to the operation of the computer itself is typically a sign that the system has been hacked. Computer hacking is a serious issue that continues to grow.
Hacking will change the functioning and perhaps contents of a computer. There are a number of common signs that a computer has been hacked.
- Fake antivirus messages - these take the user to a site asking for credit card information with a bogus report indicating multiple virus infections
- Emails (spam) sent from an account without the user's knowledge
- New programs on the computer
- Passwords have changed
- Unexplained increase in network activity (as the hacker accesses the system remotely)
- Internet searches that are unexpectedly redirected
- Persistent pop-up windows
- Security programs such as antivirus or anti-malware programs are disabled or uninstalled and can't be rebooted
- Mouse moves on its own to select programs or options
- Browser has been changed
The best solution to a hacking episode, if it is available and depending on the operating system, is to restore the computer to a point where it was known to be in good operating condition. A full restore is typically the only way to ensure the problems don't linger.