Hackers

5 Signs You’re the Victim of Hackers and What to Do About It

Has your privacy ever been invaded and shortly after, you have trouble trusting that it won’t happen again? If it hasn’t happened to you, you’re one of the lucky ones.

Unfortunately there are vicious hackers out there in the IT world, as we’ve seen recently with what could potentially be one of the largest breaches of data to the United States—affecting more than 4 million federal employees.

To make sure that this doesn’t happen to your information—keep an eye out for these signs of hacking:

1. Antivirus Messages We Would Like to Believe are Real

It’s commonplace to see those pesky anti-virus messages pop up on the computer screen. In fact, it seems almost inevitable and it usually happens when you’re doing something important. Unfortunately once you see the message, it may be too late even if you try your hardest to click the cancel button as soon as you see it.

2. Popups That You Can’t Escape

If you’re seeing frequent pop ups, it is a sure sign that you’ve been hacked. Not only are they annoying, but they can simultaneously hinder your system.

3. It May Not Be That You Changed Your Password and Forgot It This Time

If your password suddenly changes, and you know for a fact that you remember it, it’s a sign that you’ve been hacked. Whatever service the password was used for is now in the hands of the hacker—pretending to be you.

4. Is That You Moving the Mouse?

If your mouse suddenly starts making selections and choosing incorrect choices, a hacker is involved. It may happen after-hours, when the desktop has been out of use for a while, giving the hacker the ability to break into bank accounts or steal information.

5. Software Appears That You Didn’t Install

Worms will try and disguise themselves as real programs and install themselves on your computer. Sometimes programs will install themselves from another program that you installed after reading the legal agreement.

What Can You do to Protect Yourself from Hackers?

  • When logging into Wi-Fi in a public place, you are making yourself vulnerable to hackers. Also, be cautious of the websites you visit while logged into the public network.
  • Look for unwanted programs and toolbars that you didn’t install on your computer and delete them as soon as possible.
  • Run an antivirus scan on your computer if you feel like something just isn’t right.
  • Make your passwords complex and change them often. Making them complex involves using symbols, a mixture of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
  • Never click on links in e-mails that you don’t recognize and don’t download from a website that you are unfamiliar with.

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings while surfing the web at all times. Explore preventative options, like switching to a cloud-based data center, before a hacker has the chance to access your information.

apple icloud hack

Apple iCloud Hack

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation warned U.S. Businesses in early October that hackers it believes to be backed by the Chinese government have recently launched attacks on U.S. Companies.

Days later, Apple’s iCloud storage service China was attacked by hackers trying to steal user credentials. Greatfire.org, a Chinese web monitoring group, broke the news online and adds that it believes that Beijing’s Cyberspace Administration of China is behind the campaign.

Using what is known as a man in the middle attack to intercept user data. This is when the attacker intercepts messages and then retransmits them, substituting his own key for the requested one, so that the two original parties still appear to be communicating with each other. Earlier in the day, Google and Yahoo faced similar attacks.

The attack coincided with the release of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China. Apple added new security measures to its latest phones, designed to limit government and law enforcement surveillance of users.

Ironically, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology accused Apple’s iPhone of posing a threat to China’s national security and delayed the release. Bowing to government pressure, Apple’s iCloud data storage was shifted to China Telecom, which was the target of the attack.

Greatfire.org explains that since the attacks appear to originate from “deep within the Chinese domestic Internet backbone” data interception would not have gone unnoticed by Chinese Internet providers.

The timing of the hack could be related to tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens taking to the streets seeking freedom from the mainland Chinese government. Chinese authorities could gain access to photos and data stored on iCloud related to the Hong Kong protests.

This operation does not just affect China, but for Internet users everywhere in the world. In December, news emerged that the Cyberspace Administration of China was now in charge of China Internet Network Information Centre; the authority that issues digital certificates to Web sites here. Web browsers all over the world are now trusting the Chinese government to tell it which sites are genuine.

Foreign companies are bending over backwards to comply in exchange for market access. These attacks are these companies paying the price for that privilege.

Policies mandate that vendors file sensitive IP, such as source code, with the Chinese government. While foreign entities are hesitant to adhere to these policies, the potential for impressive profits in China makes compliance tempting. And to the extent that they do comply, experts say, the companies’ hardware and software become vulnerable to Chinese hackers who could obtain those keys.

Incidentally, Apple posted the biggest quarterly profits in its history thanks partly to booming sales of the iPhone 6 in China, revealing that it sold more iPhones in China than in the US in the final quarter of 2014.