What to do if you have been hacked
You’re sitting in the office and you’ve just opened a weird attachment you thought was from your boss. It wasn’t – and now your computer is acting like it’s possessed, with strange pop-ups and unusual behavior. What do you do—panic? Pretend like nothing happened? Turn off your computer and hide until someone confronts you? Instead of the above, follow Norton’s checklist for what to do if you have been hacked.
- Stay calm: Your first instinct might be to panic, but take a couple of deep breaths.
- Disconnect from the network: Turn off your Wi-Fi or any other network connections. Remove the network cable if you have access to it.
- Contact an expert. No one is better equipped to deal with a hack.
- Quickly assess the risk level: Did the computer crash or are there any messages on the screen? Did you download and install software a hacker could be using to access your files?
- Scan your computer with security software: Check if you have a suite of security software installed like Norton™ Security Online.
- Remove any threats: Quarantine and delete anything the software detects as a threat.
- Shutdown the hard drive: If you think the threat might be serious, power your computer off. Ask an expert to remove your hard drive or bring it to a reputable computer repair shop to do it for you.
- Call your bank: Check for any unusual transactions; cancel your card, if necessary.
- Once it is safe, do a final check: Turn your computer back on and uninstall any recent software that you did not install or you were not aware of.
- Backup any important files: Save your files to the cloud or a hard drive.
- Recover any accounts: Reset your passwords. Yes, all of them!
- Set up 2FA: Two-factor authentication links your accounts to your phone.
- Check your sent box: Contact anyone the hacker may have messaged or spammed.
- Try to figure out what happened: Did you open a link or attachment in a strange unsolicited email? Did you connect to a public or unsafe Wi-Fi connection? Did you tell someone else your password? Did you click on a pop-up or strange ad? Did you illegally download media or use torrents? Have you recently downloaded or installed software? Is your antivirus software up-to-date?
- Breathe easy: Crisis averted!
Remember: Always back up your files to a hard-drive or the cloud, and ensure your software is up to date. In addition, create strong passwords that are at least 12 characters long and a mix of numbers, symbols, and letters. A professional security package such as Norton™ Security Online is essential for small and medium-sized businesses in order to protect their equipment from online danger and misuse.