How Can I Tell If My Computer Is Being Hacked?

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How can I tell if my computer is being hacked?

You can’t.

There are some clues to look for, and I’ll review a few of those, but ultimately, there’s no way for the average computer user to know with any certainty that a hacker is not in the process of weaseling in or that they haven’t done so already.

Perhaps now you’ll understand why I talk so much about prevention.

And I’ll talk about it some more.

Read moreHow Can I Tell If My Computer Is Being Hacked?

Two-factor Might Be Hackable? USE IT ANYWAY!

It hasn’t been that long since I wrote about SMS two-factor being hackable, and why you should use it anyway.

It’s an important enough topic that when I saw another article discussing a potential two-factor exploit — ‘You can’t relax’: Here’s why 2-factor authentication may be hackable — I just have to jump in to reinforce my message.

Use two-factor authentication anyway.

I’ll explain why it’s important, even if two-factor is technically hackable.

Read moreTwo-factor Might Be Hackable? USE IT ANYWAY!

What Should I Do About the Latest Breach?

As I write this, there’s been a breach (referred to as the “Collection #1 breach“) that apparently contains something like three-quarters of a billion email addresses and plain-text passwords.  It’s newsworthy because it’s huge and contains passwords for anyone to see.

It’s also quite frustrating, for reasons I’ll outline in a moment.

Naturally, the question I’m getting most is simply this: what should you and I do?

The same thing we do every breach, my friend; the same thing we do every breach.

Read moreWhat Should I Do About the Latest Breach?

12 Steps to Keep from Getting Your Account Hacked

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My account has been hacked into several times. If I’m able to recover it, it just gets hacked again. Sometimes I can’t recover it, and I have to start all over with a new account. What can I do to stop this all from happening?

I don’t get this question a lot. But I really, really wish I did. What I get instead, repeatedly, is “I’ve been hacked, please recover my account/password for me!” (Which, for the record, I cannot do, no matter how often, or how nicely, or not so nicely, I’m asked.)

The only salvation is in prevention, and this applies to email, social media, and pretty much any password-protected account you might have.

What can you do to make sure your account doesn’t get hacked in the first place?

Read more12 Steps to Keep from Getting Your Account Hacked

Can My Computer Be Hacked If It’s Turned Off?

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In general, can a PC with no remote software be hacked if it is powered off? The power supply and the internet cable are still connected to the PC. In my discussions with others, 50% say yes, 50% say no. An internet search was also divided in response with no agreement.

It’s a very unlikely scenario that could allow a turned-off computer to be hacked. I’ll describe it and show you how to prevent it.

Read moreCan My Computer Be Hacked If It’s Turned Off?

Online Shopping – Just How Safe Is It?

As you might expect, I get many questions from computer users concerned about their security. With regular news of identity theft, credit card fraud, and database hacking, many people are understandably concerned about the security of their own information online, particularly when it comes to online shopping …

… so much so, that some actively avoid online shopping for fear of having their payment information stolen.

In my opinion, they should be more concerned about the security of their information off-line.

Read moreOnline Shopping – Just How Safe Is It?

Should I take the security protection offered after the most recent security breach?

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What is the current status of a company that wants to offer security protection for your credit card purchase and your identity? Is it “Target” initiated?

Target, a retail chain in the United States, is the company whose security was breached recently in a fairly massive theft of account information from their customers. Unfortunately, this gets really complicated really quickly. Compromised companies like Target try to do the right thing for their customers, but of course there’s always somebody who wants to come along and take further advantage of the situation.

Read moreShould I take the security protection offered after the most recent security breach?

Could a Hacked Computer Record My Skype Video Calls?

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Hi, Leo. If I’m sure that a hacker is controlling my computer and I was online in my Skype account, in a video call to a friend. Could hackers then see and save a video message during the recording? In other words, can a hacker see my screen and record my video call with my friends and show our faces at the same time?

While this does seem like a very specific scenario and a very specific concern, I want to address it because it’s a fine example of what a lot of people just don’t seem to realize, something that’s very important about the nature of hacking, malware, and compromised machines.

To directly answer your question, yes, absolutely. If your machine has been hacked into or is compromised in some way, then a hacker could certainly record your Skype video calls.

But the problem here is that it’s much, much worse than that.

Read moreCould a Hacked Computer Record My Skype Video Calls?

Why does this malware keep coming back?

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When I click on a search program or email site, I see “infospace” first before the site. It slowed my computer down somewhat. I’ve had it removed but it always comes back. How can I get rid of it forever?

Infospace is actually a search engine that’s got a pretty good reputation. I suspect what you’re seeing here is some kind of intrusive adware that’s associated with that same name.

There are several possible things that could be going on here. I want to walk you through some of the possibilities and what you should be looking at.

Read moreWhy does this malware keep coming back?

Will Someone Hacking My Router Show up on My Computer?

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If someone hacks into my router, will their activity show up on my personal computer and phones? We have activity as far as websites visited but we swear that the router must have been hacked. Is it possible for activity to be on the computer and phone if they weren’t actually used?

Hacking a router is possible, but fairly uncommon.

Most router hacks happen from the computers in your local network. That means you may have malware on one or more of your machines and it’s accessing the router. This can show up in several different ways on your computer.

I’m not so sure about the phones.

But since you asked, let’s talk a little about this scenario.

Read moreWill Someone Hacking My Router Show up on My Computer?

How Do I Keep My Computer from Being Hacked at Night?

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I’m online sometimes late night into the morning. Being an IT student, I’ve read about hackers using the night to scan for active IP addresses and hack it using back doors for fun. Can you recommend any free software that can help prevent back door attacks and work alongside my anti-virus and my Windows firewall? Also, should I change from Windows firewall?

To be honest, I’ve never, ever heard of this so-called nighttime scanning. I wouldn’t believe it if I did. It’s always nighttime somewhere and the internet is global.

My servers are located somewhere in Michigan, but hackers from China try to hack into them at all hours of the day. It  happens constantly. The reality is that any computer connected to the internet is being attacked in one form or another pretty much all the time.

It’s one of the reasons why tech people like me speak so religiously about anti-malware tools and firewalls. But there are a couple of different ways to discourage hackers from choosing you.

Read moreHow Do I Keep My Computer from Being Hacked at Night?

How Do I Find Who Hacked My Email?

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I just want to tell you that someone has hacked one of my email IDs and he sent email from my ID to someone else. Now, please tell me how I can find out from which computer and from which place this email has been sent. In other words, how do I find who hacked my email? You cooperation will be highly appreciated.

Unfortunately, what you and I can do is actually very limited.

I get this question a lot. When people get their accounts hacked, they really want to be able to trace back and figure out who the heck did this to them. Where did it happen? What computer were they on?

You’re not going to like this, but the  short answer is, you don’t. The fact is, unless this involves laws being broken, there’s almost nothing you as an individual can do.

Read moreHow Do I Find Who Hacked My Email?

I Run No Anti-virus Software and Now Have Viruses. What Should I Do?

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I’m using Windows 7 and I have no anti-virus software. For the last one month, I started having virus problems. My action center, Windows Defender, Windows Update and Windows Firewall have all stopped working. What should I do now?

For starters, you need to start running anti-malware software… NOW!

Anti-virus and anti-malware tools are there for a reason – they’re necessary. When it comes to viruses and malware, the issue is not if you are attacked or infected, but when. That’s why anti-virus and anti-malware software is available – it protects your computer from attempts to attack when they happen.  When you’re not protected, there’s nothing to stop viruses malware from infecting your machine.

Now that you know, you may wonder what you can do to get your machine fixed.

Read moreI Run No Anti-virus Software and Now Have Viruses. What Should I Do?

How do I get rid of this advertising popup that keeps coming back?

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I use Windows Vista and my browser is IE9. I have an annoying window that pops up whenever I search for a website. It briefly comes up as (and there’s a domain name here) and then morphs into a window that seems to correspond with a website I searched for and selected. It’s typically advice that I’ve won a prize of some sort. I’ve tried many ways to remove this issue: malware removal, pop-up blocker, and full virus scan. The full virus scan got rid of it briefly but it returned very quickly. How can I get rid of this problem?

The fact that the virus scan fixed this problem at least for a little while tells me a lot. This sounds like a browser hijack.

Read moreHow do I get rid of this advertising popup that keeps coming back?