What to do in the Aftermath of an Attack
Can you hack cleaning up the mess a hacker makes after infiltrating your computer? Would you even know the first thing to do? And yes, YOU’RE computer CAN be hacked.
After the attack, locate the portal through which the crumb-bag entered. This could be the e-mail program or browser. This may be easier said than done. Give it a shot.
Next, this portal must be disconnected/uninstalled from the Internet to prevent it from getting into other systems. Look at your Task Manager or Activity Viewer for any suspicious activity. The CPU usage must be checked too. If it goes way up, you’ll have a better chance of detecting fraudulent activity. It helps to know how your computer runs so that you know what’s typical and what’s atypical.
Otherwise head over to Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool page to better understand.
After severing ties with the hacker or hackers, take inventory of their destruction.
- Make sure that your anti-malware and antivirus systems are up to date, and enabled. Do a full system scan with both systems.
- If something looks odd, get rid of it. Malware will continue downloading if there’s a browser extension or plugin.
- Inspect every downloaded item.
- Change every password and make it unique and long.
- Log out of all your accounts after changing the passwords.
- Clear the cookies, cache and history in your browser.
- Be on the alert for strange goings-on, and do not open suspicious e-mails, let alone click on links inside them.
- If things are still acting strange, wipe your hard drive. Reinstall the operating system. But not before you back up all your data.
Preventing an Attack
- Have a properly configured firewall.
- As mentioned, never click links inside of e-mails, even if they seem to be from people you know. In fact, delete without opening any e-mails with melodramatic subject lines like “You Won!”
- Have both anti-malware and antivirus systems, and keep them up to date.
- Use long, unique passwords.
- Never let your computer out of sight in public.
- If, however, your device is stolen, it should have a remote wipe feature.
- Give your data routine backups.
- Be very cautious what you click on, since links promising you a spectacular video can actually be a trap to download a virus into your computer.
- Use Hotspot Shield when you’re on public Wi-Fi to scramble your communications.