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7 Obvious Signs that Your Computer is Hacked

We all know that malicious hackers are lurking everywhere on the web, and it’s easy for us to become the next preys if we don’t pay attention to internet security measures. But even the best procedures have their weaknesses; and if luck just doesn’t come our way, our computers could still be compromised even when we have taken precaution methods. So how could we know whether our machines are hacked? What kind of clues should we look for? Here are 7 most obvious signs that your computer have fallen into the hands of the nasties.

1. Password failures

This is one of the most common symptoms to appear on a hacked machine. If you are not sharing your computer with someone else, and you don’t remember any instances in which you have changed the passwords for programs and websites that you frequently use, it’s likely that the passcodes have already been cracked and modified by someone else.

2. Uninitiated program and file changes

The list of programs on your machine may be modified, with unknown softwares being installed against your will. On the other hand, your files may suddenly be removed from their original locations, moved to the recycle bin or even deleted.

3. Malfunctions and removals of anti-virus and internet security programs

If protective softwares are installed on your machine, of course the hackers would want to get rid of them. Either their normal operations would be disrupted, or they would be totally disabled or uninstalled.

4. Unusual printer behaviors

If your system is compromised, all the machines connected to it may work in peculiar ways. A clear piece of evidence would come from your printer, which may start to print millions of pages that you have never requested, and when you command it to stop or print something else, it never works.

5. Strange browser activities

Never-seen-before toolbars and plug-ins may be added, your home page and searches may be redirected to unwanted results, and random pop-ups may appear out of nowhere.

6. Spams sent from your online communication tools

If your friends start to complain about advertisements, spams or phishing emails they receive from you, be very cautious. Your email accounts and instant messaging programs may have already been hijacked, and the swindlers are using them to spread vicious stuff to your communication network.

7. Mysterious financial losses

If money has been taken away from your bank accounts through unauthorized online transactions, take actions immediately. Your system is extremely likely to be compromised, and has developed to one of the worst stages. Contact your bank to suspend all transactions temporarily, change all your passwords, and most importantly, ditch your current computer if possible to prevent future breaches and losses.

Written By

Clarissa Turner is an English major graduate from New York University. Due to her academic background, she has developed a passion in writing and informing others on important stories around the world. As she is a geek at heart, she has combined both her passions to write quality articles on geek-related news.



  1. Charles James

    August 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I agree that these are certainly signs to be on the lookout for when weighing a computer compromise. I also contend that sometimes, most of malicious software and hackers swim under the radar and we don’t know of compromises till its too late.

    • Steve Hardaway

      September 5, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Clarissa, these are some of the obvious signs we experience when a client computer has been hacked, too. There’s some wacky behavior for sure.

      Charles, I agree. The malicious software that flies under the radar undetected seem to always be the worst of them. Sometimes when you discover the security breach, it’s too late. Having good systems in place can be a life saver.

  2. abbott anderson

    May 6, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Great article.

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