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Hacked: How To Know If You Are Under A Cyber Attack

A research has shown that over 445 million cyberattacks were detected between January and May 2020, and the numbers skyrocketed towards the end of the year due to COVID-19 lockdown measures around the world.

Security Boulevard, a cybersecurity firm, reported that 80 per cent of firms have seen an increase in cyber attacks in 2020. 

Coronavirus pandemic is alone blamed for a 238 per cent rise in cyber attacks on banks. Phishing attacks have seen a dramatic increase of 600 per cent since the end of February 2020.

Check Point reports that daily ransomware attacks have been on the rise since 2020 by almost 50 per cent compared to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic. 

The University of Utah paid more than $450,000 to get back its system after a ransomware attack on its computers. 

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrimes related damages are expected to rise to $6 trillion at the end of 2021. 

The huge amount includes worldwide spendings on cybersecurity and losses related to data breaches from attacks such as password phishing, Denial of Service (DoS), Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), SQL injection, etc. 

As organisations continue to become more conscious of cyber threats and deploy different security mechanisms to detect possible security breaches, attacks are likely going to shift to individuals and smaller organisations. 

Over the years, Business Email Compromise (BEC) has been among the most common and successful cyberattacks as they prey on human emotions and give rise to higher “profits” for the attackers. 

However, research has shown that about 34 per cent of organisational cyber attacks include an insider and the victims are mostly small and medium enterprises. 

A report has also noted that 68 per cent of organisations feel vulnerable to insider attacks. 

Other security loopholes that are exploited by hackers include, but not limited to, weak passwords, application vulnerability and backdoors, malware, social engineering, too many permissions. insider attack and improper configuration. 

Signs That You Are Under a Cyberattack 

There are thousands of antimalware software that routinely scan your system to detect a security threat, but they are largely inaccurate and less reliable. 

The software offers little or no peace of mind as they are easily exploited by well experienced malicious hackers who could exploit its security loopholes. 

However, you can know if you have been attacked by regularly checking your system when you get one of these signs.

Ransomware Message 

Ransomware is malicious software that displays a message demanding a fee before you get your system to work again. 

The first ransomware attack was recorded in 1998 and in 2012 the first ransomware worm appeared.

Thanks to the billions of dollars that the criminals are getting from individuals and companies, a large amount of money is getting lost every year. 

Mostly, you know there is ransomware when you get an on-screen notification informing you that the data on your network has been encrypted and will be inaccessible until you pay the ransom. 

After paying the ransom, a key to access your system will be given to you. If you fail to pay, the attackers will destroy your system and make your data inaccessible by using crypto or lock ransomware. 

Correct Password Not Working 

When you are sure that you typed your password correctly but it is not working, you are probably being hacked by a malicious hacker who changed your password. 

Apart from guessing simple passwords, there are hundreds of password phishing tools that could collect your password and other login information. 

Phishing is a cyberattack method of trying to gather personal information using deceptive e-mails and websites. The attackers masquerade as a trusted entity to collect your information. 

It’s one of the oldest types of cyberattacks, dating back to the 1990s, and it’s still one of the most widespread and pernicious, with phishing messages and techniques becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Self-Installed Software 

When you get an unwanted or unexpected software install on your system, you might have been under trojans and worms that modified your system and installed unwanted software. 

This malware could be used to collect or steal some vital information from your system without your permission. Most of these programs are embedded in the much larger list of legitimate running programs. 

However, some unwanted software are legally installed by other programs that stated it would happen in its licence agreement that you blindly agreed to without reading. So read your software license agreements. Always! 

Self-Moving Mouse Pointer 

When your pointer moves and makes selections without moving your mouse, you are remotely controlled by a hacker. 

However, pointers move due to hardware problems but they don’t make selections. Once you see selections, you have been under a serious attack. 

Other Signs 

Other signs that indicate you are under an attack include getting your Internet searches redirected, frequent and random pop-ups, missing money from your online account, strange network pattern and a leaked system credentials. 

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Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu is an Assistant Editor at HumAngle and Head of the Radicalism and Extremism Desk. He has years of experience researching misinformation and influence operations. He is passionate about analysing jihadism in Africa and has published several articles on the topic. His work has been featured in various local and international publications.

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