In Edgar Allan Poe’s short story "The Tell-Tale Heart," the narrator murders an old man because of his blue “vulture-like” eye and hides the dismembered body under the floorboards of the victim’s home. When the police arrive to investigate, the narrator tells them that the old man went on a trip and shows them the victim’s room.
As they chat on the very spot where the old man was buried, the narrator is tormented by feelings of guilt. That person eventually breaks down and confesses to the crime when that individual imagines hearing the victim’s beating heart.
Considered a classic of Gothic fiction, Poe’s short story tells of the almost perfect crime that was foiled by the narrator’s guilty conscience. In the IT world, however, the opposite is true. Hackers are constantly stealing critical data from small business owners, but they’re not bothered by feelings of remorse or guilt.
According to a study by the University of Maryland, there is a hacker attack every 39 minutes and 42% of cyberattacks target small businesses. By 2020, the average cost of a data breach due to hackers is expected to exceed $150 million.
Knowing this, how can you tell if your device has been hacked? Are there any telltale signs you should be aware of? While there’s no beating heart in the background to warn us of potential threats, here are symptoms that something may be wrong:
1. Slow device
Remember the first time you used your smartphone or PC? You were amazed by its speed and quick response. Has it become as slow as a turtle now? Do websites take forever to load? If you’ve noticed a significant drop in your gadget’s performance, don’t blame Father Time or aging.
Unless you’ve recently updated the system or downloaded a ton of processor-hungry games, chances are your device is infected. It’s probably filled with malware that can also slow down your network connection and fill your gadget’s memory with junk.
2. Strange text messages
If you’re getting a lot of text messages or emails from people you don’t know, don’t assume you’ve become popular overnight. They’re not from your fans, but most likely from hackers. The same is true if your family and friends report receiving messages or emails that you never sent. Security provider Alert Logic said 92.4% of malware comes from email.
3. Unknown apps
It’s normal for any device to receive updates once in a while from the manufacturer or service provider, but new apps that suddenly pop up should be met with skepticism and suspicion.
To be on the safe side, search for these apps online to check if they’re legitimate or not. In most cases, these apps are the work of cybercriminals who are exploiting vulnerabilities in your gadget’s operating system. These will allow them to access your data, calls and text messages, as well as online banking transactions.
4. Weak battery
Does your battery give up easily even if you don’t use your device to play games or watch movies? Malware may be the problem. This is usually caused by hackers who are constantly monitoring and capturing your activity and relaying it to third parties.
5. Too hot to handle
It’s not cool to have a literally hot device. Sudden temperature changes may indicate that it’s processing applications even while you’re not using it, which indicates that it is probably being tampered by cybercriminals. And you thought it was caused by global warming!
6. Disorderly apps
Do you have a lot of apps on your device? That’s normal nowadays, but if they behave strangely or suddenly stop working, exercise caution. That may be a sign of malware interfering with the apps' functionality.
Concerned about cybersecurity? Don’t give hackers a chance to invade your network. Turn to the comprehensive security solutions of Capstone IT. We specialize in IT support, cloud services, and backup and recovery to protect small businesses in the Rochester-Buffalo and West Palm Beach-Treasure Coast areas from all kinds of online threats. Ask about our right-fit technology today!