Recognizing Attacks

Indications of an Attack

If you are concerned that your computer has been compromised, here are some signs to look for. These symptoms may indicate that your computer has been hacked or been infected with malware.

  • If you are infected with malware, you will probably see a dramatic increase in pop-up advertising even if you do not click on links.
  • Very slow, unable to connect to network services, or simply non-functional. These symptoms may be indicative of a "denial-of-service" attack (an attack aimed at preventing you from using a certain resource.) If you find that you are unable to connect, first check to see if other people are having the same problem. If it is isolated to your system, and you have not been informed that the Tufts network is experiencing issues, then the problem may indeed be the result of a malicious hacker.
  • Unexplained disk activity. Be aware that some systems do disk-related cleanup while the system is idle, so this may be merely system "housekeeping."
  • System appears to be less responsive than expected.
  • Keep an eye out for fake antivirus notifications. They may appear as pop-ups that you that you need to update your protections
  • Toolbars that show up in browsers-- if you didn't put it there it may be recording your passwords and other information; it could redirect you to a fake search tool so check the URL
  • Rebooting randomly as it is installing malware (or a bad power supply)
  • Receive lots of random error messages
  • applications can consistently crash (browsers)
  • Passwords for commonly used sites may no longer work