How to tell if someone is hacking your computer

Written by margaret worthington
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Computer hackers can break into your computer to steal personal information, delete your data or simply to mess around with your computer. If you want to be able to tell if someone is hacking your computer, there are a few telltale signs to look out for. While you don't have to be a computer expert to notice these warning signs, it helps if you know at least some computer basics.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Run regular antivirus scans to see if there are new viruses on your computer. If you have a virus on your computer, it can be a sign that someone hacked your computer either to place the virus or with the help of the virus. If you remove all viruses from your computer with an antivirus program, you'll be able to stop hackers from using them to access your information.

  2. 2

    Look for odd or unusual computer behaviour, such as data entered without you touching the keyboard, the cursor moving on its own or programs opening and closing on their own. This type of activity can signal that someone is actively controlling your computer from a remote connection. If you see something like this occurring, immediately disconnect your computer from the Internet and run a complete antivirus scan of the computer to try to remove the software the hacker was using to remotely access it.

  3. 3

    Look for any unusual or out of place programs running in the Windows Task Manager. To access the Task Manager, press the "Ctrl," "Alt" and "Del" keys together, then press the "Task Manager" button (it may open automatically in some versions of Windows). Click on the "Processes" tab and look through the list of processes that are running. If you see a process that is running that you don't recognise or you didn't install, it may be a program that a hacker used to gain access to your computer.

Tips and warnings

  • Running regular antivirus scans is the best way to keep your computer free of hackers. You should also install firewall software on your computer to help block intrusions. If you don't have any third-party firewall software available, you can use the built-in Windows Firewall software that is included with Windows XP, Vista and 7 operating systems.
  • Note that some legitimate programs may appear in the Task Manager under unfamiliar names and deleting them can cause your computer not to function properly. Consult an expert if you are unsure what a program does.

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