CAB – Think You’ve Been Hacked?
Compromised accounts happen! Today’s phishing email messages can be well crafted, extremely convincing, and sometimes threatening, often causing an individual to immediately react by providing personal information or passwords. The next time you receive an email message that requests personal information, bank account numbers, or passwords, take a moment to Stop, Think, then React!
Hackers are Gonna Hack! The following are some tips to help you identify if you’ve been hacked:
- Your colleagues or friends tell you! We’ve all received those email messages that appear to come from someone you know, but ask for some unusual information or may not seem like a typical email from that individual. Often the first sign of a hack is from a friend or co-worker telling you that they’ve received a spammy or phishy email from your account.
- Your browser tells you! Pay attention to any warning messages your web browser tells you, and monitor any unwanted browser toolbars, home pages, or plugins that appear unexpectedly. If you’re seeing lots of pop-ups or web page redirects, your browser may have been hacked.
- Your software tells you! Antivirus messages report that it has detected a virus or some other type of unusual activity occurring on your computer. Don’t ignore these messages! Often your antivirus software will take action and automatically protect you and quarantine a virus. If you don’t have antivirus software installed on your computer or your antivirus is out of date, or your antivirus software is no longer updating because your antivirus subscription has expired, you can download and install Sophos Home for FREE! Also be aware of fake antivirus messages from software you don’t remember installing. These fake messages will often advertise that a virus has been detected on your computer and can be removed, “at a price.” Remember, if you’re using Sophos Home, it’s FREE and wouldn’t be asking you to pay to remove an infection.
The following are the steps you can take to recover from a hack:
- Change your affected passwords using an unaffected device! Not sure which passwords are affected? It’s best to change them all. Consider using a password manager like the FREE Personal Edition of LastPass to help you with managing, protecting, and creating strong passwords.
- Update your antivirus software to receive the highest level of protection! Then run a complete scan. Follow the instructions provided to quarantine or delete any infected files.
- Update your browser software and plugins! Check frequently for new updates and delete any unnecessary or obsolete plugins.
- Keep your software up-to-date! When you receive a message that an update is available for software that is installed on your computer, perform the update. Updates often fix security issues that may make your computer vulnerable to hacks. Updates also fix software bugs and ensure you are running the most current version of the software.
- Be prepared with backups! Don’t let the next compromise ruin your day. Backup your files frequently. Consider storing at least two separate backups: one on an external drive and one in cloud storage.
- If your computer still acting wonky? It might be best to start from scratch with a complete reformat of your machine so you can ensure that all affected software is fixed.
Always remember to be a Cyber Aware Bobcat and don’t fall victim to a hacking or phishing attempt. Protect your Personal and Bates Passwords & PINs, and never share them! Even with supervisors, colleagues, family or friends. Your passwords are the strongest part of protecting your information and the information of the college.
*CAB – Cyber Aware Bobcat