What Do I Do When My Computer is Hacked?
Once you have determined that your computer has been hacked, there are several steps you can take to try to minimize any potential damage such as destroyed files and compromised personal information security.
- Detach Computer Access to Any Network
This is necessary to make certain that the hacker is not able to access further information and damage any other devices that are connected to your computer. First, detach the network cable from your hacked computer, then manually turn off your Wi-Fi connection.
- Power Off Your Computer and Pull Out the Hard Drive
Once you have done this, place your hard drive in a USB drive caddy to connect internally to another computer as a secondary non-bootable drive. Make certain that the computer you are connecting the hard drive to has current antivirus and antispyware software installed.
- Scan Your Hard Drive for Spyware and Malware
Use the antivirus and antispyware programs on the host computer to scan your hard drive to make certain that there is no residual infection from the hacked computer.
- Backup Your Files on the Host Computer
You can do this by copying all of your personal information, documents, media, photos, and video from the previously infected hard drive to either a clean hard drive, a DVD, or a CD.
- Reinsert Your Hard Drive in Your Computer, Then Wipe It Out
Once you have your hard drive back in your computer, set the drive’s dip switches to “Master”. Next, you will need to wipe the drive clean to make sure that all malware is gone. Use a hard drive wipe to totally blank the drive within a few hours.
- Reload Your Computer’s Operating System from a Trusted Source
Make sure to do this using only the discs that you received when you purchased your computer and download all updates and patches for your operating system.
- Reload Your Security Software
Do this before reloading any of your other applications or information to make certain that your system is not vulnerable to any malware that could reside in them.
- Scan Your Information Backup Discs Before Uploading
Taking this extra precaution is an important step in making sure that they are free of viruses, malware, and spyware.
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