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Have I Been Hacked?

If you think someone might have gained access to one of your online accounts, the earlier you act, the better. The longer you wait, the longer the hacker has to do more damage and potentially unlock your other connected accounts.

Hints You May Have Been Hacked

  • Your anti-virus program should generate an alert that your system is infected. Make sure it is your real anti-virus software generating the alert and not a pop-up window from a website trying to fool you into calling a number or clicking a button. Open your anti-virus program to verify.
  • You get a pop-up window saying your computer has been encrypted and you have to pay a ransom to get your files back.
  • Your browser is redirecting you to random websites that you did not want visit.
  • Your computer or applications are constantly crashing; there are icons for unknown apps; or strange windows popping up.
  • Your password no longer works even though you know it is correct.
  • Friends ask you why you are spamming them with emails that you never sent.
  • There are charges to your credit card or withdrawals from your bank account you never made.
  • A hacker tells you that you have been hacked via email, phone call, or direct message on a social media platform

What should you do?

If you think you have been hacked follow the below precautionary measures below. Also reach out to the Help Desk team for support at helpdesk@richmond.edu.

  • Change Your Passwords: This includes not only changing the passwords on your computers and mobile devices, but for your online accounts. If you have a lot of accounts, start with the most important ones first. Can’t keep track of all your passwords? Use a password manager such as LastPass.
  • Financial Accounts: For issues with your credit card or any financial accounts, call your bank or credit card company right away. Use a trusted phone number to call them, such as from the back of your bank card, your financial statements, or visit their website by typing the URL in the browser. In addition, consider putting a credit freeze on your credit reports.
  • Anti-virus Alerts: If your anti-virus software informs you of an infected file, follow the actions it recommends. Most anti-virus software will have links you can follow to learn more about the specific infection.
  • Backups: A key step to protecting yourself is to prepare ahead of time with regular backups. Solutions range from using cloud storage to USB drives that will automatically back up your files daily or hourly. Regardless of which solution you use, periodically check that you are able to restore those files. Quite often, recovering your data backups is the only way you can recover from being hacked.
  • Law Enforcement: If you feel in any way threatened, report the incident to local law enforcement. If you are the victim of identity theft and are based in the United States, then visit https://www.identitytheft.gov.

How to Check if You’ve Been Involved in a Hack

You may be wondering “have I been hacked?” There is a really great online tool you can use to find out if your information has been invloved in a hack and if your password has been leaked. The website is called https://haveibeenpwned.com (pwned is a play on the word “owned”; a web hacking term that means you’ve been defeated). Simply go to the website and enter your email address and click on the button. They will analyze your information against all known compromised account databases.