What to do if you have been hacked
So you’re sitting in the office, and you’ve just opened an attachment in an email that you assumed was from a colleague.
It wasn’t – and now your computer’s behaving very strangely, with pop-ups all over the screen. It looks like you’ve been hacked.
So what do you do now? Do you panic? Maybe you pretend like nothing’s happened and hope it goes away. Or do you switch off your computer and hide until someone confronts you?
None of the options above are good ideas! Instead, simply follow the checklist below from our partner Norton, for what to do if you’ve been hacked:
√ Stay calm: Your first instinct might be to panic, but take a deep breath and look at tackling the problem practically.
√ Disconnect from the network: Turn off your Wi-Fi and any other network connections and remove the network cable if you’re able to access it
√ Contact an expert: They will be far better equipped to deal with a hack
√ Quickly assess the risk level: Did the computer crash or are there any messages on the screen? Did you download and install software a hacker could be using to access your files? Identifying the root of the problem will make it far easier to tackle going forward.
√ Scan your computer with security software: Check that you have a suite of security software installed like Norton™ Security Online.
√ Remove any threats: Quarantine and delete any items that your security software identifies as a threat
√ Shutdown the hard drive: If the threat appears to be a serious one, then power off your computer. Then ask an expert or computer repair shop to remove your hard drive
√ Call your bank: Check for any unusual transactions and if necessary, cancel your card
√ Once it is safe, do a final check: Turn your computer back on and uninstall any recent software that you did not install yourself, or that you were not aware of
√ Backup any important files: Save your files to the cloud or to a hard drive
√ Recover any accounts: Reset your passwords. Yes, all of them
√ 2FA: Set up two-factor authentication links for your accounts to your phone
√ Check your sent box: Make sure you contact anyone else that the hacker may have messaged or spammed
√ Try to figure out what happened: Did you open a link or attachment in a strange or unsolicited email? Did you connect to a public or unsafe Wi-Fi connection? Did you tell someone else your password? Did you click on a pop-up or strange ad? Have you recently downloaded or installed new software? Is your antivirus software up-to-date
√ Breathe easy: Crisis averted!
Remember – always back up your files on a hard-drive or to the cloud as a matter of good practice. Also, make sure your passwords are at least 12 characters long and a mix of numbers, symbols, and letters and make sure all your software is regularly kept up to date. A professional security package like Norton™ Security Online is essential for small and medium-sized businesses in order to protect their equipment from threats online.