In today’s threatscape, antimalware software provides little peace of mind. In fact, antimalware scanners are horrifically inaccurate, especially with exploits less than 24 hours old. Malicious hackers and malware can change their tactics at will. Swap a few bytes around, and a previously recognized malware program becomes unrecognizable. All you have to do is drop off any suspected malware file at Google’s VirusTotal, which has over 60 different antimalware scanners, to see that detection rates aren’t all as advertised.
To combat this, many antimalware programs monitor program behaviors, often called heuristics, to catch previously unrecognized malware. Other programs use virtualized environments, system monitoring, network traffic detection and all of the above to be more accurate. Still they fail us on a regular basis. If they fail, you need to know how to spot malware that got through.
How to know if you’ve been hacked
Here are 15 sure signs you’ve been hacked and what to do in the event of compromise.
- You get a ransomware message
- You get a fake antivirus message
- You have unwanted browser toolbars
- Your internet searches are redirected
- You see frequent, random popups
- Your friends receive social media invitations from you that you didn’t send
- Your online password isn’t working
- You observe unexpected software installs
- Your mouse moves between programs and makes selections
- Antimalware, Task Manager or Registry Editor is disabled
- Your online account is missing money
- You’ve been notified by someone you’ve been hacked
- Confidential data has been leaked
- Your credentials are in a password dump
- You observe strange network traffic patterns