According to a recent poll, did you know that the average adult will spend 34 years of their life looking at screens?

That’s right – digital devices have become that essential in our daily lives, so it isn’t difficult to notice when there is “something off” with our smartphone or laptop. Gadgets may suddenly start turning on and off on their own, systems may crash, run hot, and so on. Signs like these could mean that your device has been hacked!

Have You Been Hacked?

Many signs of potential hacking can appear as a technical issue, but really these problems run much deeper. Most cyberattacks involve installation of malware or viruses that send sensitive information to a third party by manipulating the device’s normal operation.

Malware is often associated with financial gain for cybercriminals. Whether they are hacking into your computer to get a hold of your financial information for ransom or taking over your devices to “sell it” to other criminals for their own malicious purposes, it all relates back to making money.

In this digital era, many people do their daily activities online. Most people shop, bank, pay bills, and store financial information on their devices, making it easy for hackers to illegally access people’s personal information.

There are numerous ways malware or viruses can end up on your device. You might have opened an attachment from someone you know who has already been compromised, or unknowingly clicked on a link from an email that automatically downloads a virus, or just visited a website. Feeling embarrassed that you’ve fallen victim to one of these tricks? Don’t be. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, “results indicate a fast start to data breaches in 2022 after a record-setting 2021, as more than 90% of data breaches are cyberattacks”. Be on the lookout for these common signs.

5 Signs of Malware and Viruses

  1. Your device is hot: Malware running on your device can burn extra computing power, battery life and data, causing your smartphone or laptop to run hot and possibly overheat. If your device is too hot to touch, there is a good chance that malware is present.
  2. Things are wonky: Like a human virus, when devices get infected, it can severely impact their performance. Your device may be operating slower, web pages are hard to load, apps start to crash, etc. Even if after deleting large files you notice that your device remains slow-moving, this may be a sign that a virus has infected your device.
  3. Excessive pop-ups: If you notice a significant increase in random pop-ups, chances are your device has been hacked. These ads may be malicious, leading to bogus products designed to steal personal information. Protect yourself and never click on these ads.
  4. Fraudulent links: When a device has been compromised, it’s common for malware to gain access to your contacts and use your phone to send out messages to friends in order to keep the malware spreading. In this case, change your passwords and scan your device for malware immediately.
  5. Unauthorized charges: Here’s a red flag! If you notice unauthorized charges to your credit card or banking statements, don’t ignore it. It may be a sign that a hacker has hijacked your phone and is using it to make fraudulent purchases on your behalf, hijack personal information, send messages, and more.

Steering clear from hackers and malware can be difficult. If you discover that your device or a family member’s device has been compromised, install software that will help you clean the device and protect you in the future. Book a demo with one of our solution experts to see how Netsweeper can help you!