In the modern day, our online presence is greater than ever. And with more and more usage comes more risk of our laptops being hacked, and potentially being compromised.
In most cases, even if someone were to hack your laptop, the likelihood is that they’re not going to be able to access your private data anyway. Bit how can you tell if your laptop has been hacked?
Well, usually there are some telltale signs that we can use to know whether someone has hacked your laptop. So, let’s look at a few of them to find how how you can tell.
6 Signs Your Laptop has been Hacked
Your laptop gets slow and sluggish suddenly
Every laptop is going to slow down over time. the more and more files and programs that you store on your laptop, the slower that it’s going to run. But one telltale sign of your laptop being hacked is if it gets dramatically faster overnight.
So if your laptop is working fine one day, and the next day you’re dealing with a slow device, this could be an indication of being hacked. Not just running slow, but an array of things – freezing on the same screen for ages, or crashing completely can also be a sign of this.
Solution: Check Task Manager/Activity Monitor – The best way to see whether this is a problem for you is by simply checking task manager on Windows, or activity monitor on a Mac. This will show you how your laptop is using it’s CPU, and exactly where it’s efforts are going.
Often, you’ll see that theres a program in your manager or monitor that is using up a ton of space. If this is the case, then this program could actually be something malicious.
You Get Tons of Pop-ups
Whilst a lot of websites nowadays are using pop up messages, there’s a difference between this and a separate website popping up on your screen whenever you click on your screen. Getting a ton of pop-ups is a key indicator that you’ve been hacked.
You can usually tell if these pop-ups are bad because they’re likely be to either strange sites that have weird information on them, antivirus sites or in some cases, NSFW sites that you shouldn’t be clicking on at work.
Solution: Check your browser extensions – In the majority of cases, you can find the cause of pop-ups either as a program running in the background, or it may actually be caused by one of your toolbar extensions. Check that none of these extensions are new to you as there might be the root cause of your problem.
All of your videos are buffering
If you spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos on your laptop, then the likelihood is that you’ve had to deal with buffering at some point. In a world where streaming has become an everyday occurrence for many, most of us are streaming on a daily basis.
If you’ve got a bad wifi signal at home, then this could be the reason that your laptop it taking ages to load a video. But if videos have loaded immediately over recent times, and then suddenly nothing will load, then this could still be an issue with your data – or, you may have been hacked.
Solution: Determine the cause first – In the majority of cases, the cause of this problem can actually be found with your wifi signal, and it’s unlikely that you’ve been hacked.
So, make sure that you check that there’s nothing wrong with your internet. If this is fine, then you can use Task Manager/Activity Monitor to determine which program might be causing the problem.
You’re using tons of data
Sometimes, you might not even notice through your laptop directly that you’ve been hacked. If you check your monthly internet data usage and it’s much higher than normal, then there’s a good chance that you’ve been hacked.
This is generally because when your laptop has been hacked, it will continue to do things in the background, including opening new internet pages. Doing this over and over again can make your data skyrocket, which is another sign you’ve been hacked.
Solution: – If you find that you’re using a ton of data, then there’s going to be a program running in the background causing this issue. So, find the program that’s running, and you should be able to find the problem.
Your Antivirus closes down
Another common thing that happens when you’ve been hacked in that your Antivirus software will actually close down. There are certain types of malware out there that can actually close and uninstall your antivirus.
Checking that your antivirus is working is a must when you’re trying to decipher whether you’ve been hacked or not.
Solution: Re-install – In most cases where your antivirus has been uninstalled, you should be able to reinstall it yourself. Then, run through all of the antivirus software steps to try and fix the ultimate problem.
You’re getting randomly redirected to different pages
One of the most common signs that you’ve been hacked is when you get redirected to a page that you never intended to visit. This happens when you’re using your web browser, click to go through to a page and suddenly end up somewhere completely different.
Though hackers can get access to your bank details, it’s actually quite difficult for them to make money this way. Redirecting you to a site of their choice is a much easier and less intrusive option. Though it might not be as fruitful, there’s less chance of them getting in trouble too.
Solution: Finding a solution for this one is actually pretty difficult. Finding and getting rid of the problem program is the key to this, so you’ll want to use your Task Manager and antivirus to isolate the cause of the issue.
All in all, these are just some of the signs that your laptop may have been hacked. In most cases, there is a fix for each of these problems, so try not to stress yourself about this too much. Even if you’ve got an expensive laptop, you could still face being hacked (even those devices I recommend as cyber security laptops can still be vulnerable).
But if you’re dealing with a slow laptop, or any of the other problems that I’ve mentioned, then make sure that you check whether you’ve been hacked or not. Otherwise, your personal information could be accessed.