How to Tell if I'm Being Hacked

By Alex Zang

It's difficult to tell if your computer has been or is being hacked, because hackers generally try to leave no trace or evidence of their presence. In order to tell if you've been hacked, you'll need to check a few basic things on your computer -- in particular, those things that are most likely to be targeted by hackers. Hackers usually attempt to hack your email or your Internet browser, and also attempt to install new programs, or disable your antivirus or Internet security software.

Step 1

Open your email account and check the "Sent Mail" folder. Look specifically for any email that has left your inbox that you didn't send out yourself. This can be indicative of someone hacking into your email account and using it to spam your contacts list.

Step 2

Launch your Internet browser and check your homepage, or the first page your Internet browser takes you to, as hackers sometimes change your homepage. Also look for any additional toolbars that weren't there before -- these toolbars may seem helpful, but hackers can use them to log information about your computer.

Step 3

Check for any new programs that you haven't installed yourself. Press "Ctrl," "Alt" and "Del" simultaneously to open the Task Manager. Click on the "Applications" tab to see which programs are running. If a program is running that you're not familiar with, it may mean that someone has hacked into your computer and installed a malicious program.

Step 4

Run your antivirus or Internet security program. Sometimes hackers disable the antivirus software to make you more susceptible to attacks. If either your antivirus or Internet security programs have been disabled or removed, you may have been hacked.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure your passwords are difficult to figure out -- don't use things like birthdays or names.