Six Signs Indicating That Your Computer Has Been Hijacked

Rootkit is a collection of malicious software programs that allow a hacker to gain privileged access to a computer. It is classified as a virus and presents a big risk to computer owners. Malware (i.e. Malicious Software) is called a Rootkit if it can disable the operation of an anti-virus program installed on a computer and perform its own operation undetected. Since it is not easily detected by an antivirus software program, computer owners are unaware that their computer is infected and their privacy and security is being breached.

Malware operating in your computer can do several unpleasant things with it.

Some of the most important ones are:

a. It can cause your computer to infect other computers on a network.

b. It can capture passwords and credit card information and transmit it to criminal organizations.

c. It can use your computer to initiate internet denial of service attacks on some organizations operating their businesses online and inhibit their operation.

d. It can use your computer to initiate internet denial of service attacks on some organizations operating their businesses online and inhibit their operation.

e. It can slow down your computer and severely affect performance of some of its applications.

Since Rootkit is very difficult to detect, you need to be sensitive towards your computer to detect an infection and take preventive measures. Below are several signs that your computer is infected and you should be aware of them to prevent becoming a victim of cyber crime.

a. Your computer becomes painfully slow.

Your computer suddenly takes ages to load and start programs which you were earlier using without any problems.

b. Some programs freeze and do not respond to mouse clicks for long times.

Malware sometimes load and operate key loggers in to your computer that record every key pressed. These key loggers interfere with your mouse/keyboard and the program you use and slow down the messages transferred within the computer.

c. Your antivirus stops functioning without your knowledge.

If you sense that your antivirus is disabled and you start your anti-virus program manually to perform a complete system scan, it does not detect anything. This is a grave warning sign for Rootkit’s existence in your computer.

d. Anti Malware programs such as Spybot – Search and Destroy do not detect anything.

Spybot usually find some issues when it scans your computer. At least, it detects some suspicious cookies and removes them. If it stops detecting anything and tells you that your computer is clean, it can still indicate the existence of Rootkit that might have disabled its normal operation.

e. You get strange messages at shutdown.

Messages usually pertain to files that can’t be closed, or programs that can’t be stopped.

f. Your computer behaves strangely all of a sudden.

If you sense that your computer desktop layout has changed, some icons seem different; some strange files exist on the disk, it might indicate that some Malware resides within your system and has taken its full control.

Rootkit’s are used by cyber criminals to harvest credit card numbers and identities of people. One such organization penetrated by law enforcement agency gained 34,000 credit card numbers from people in several days of its operation. Many computers get infected and are operated as zombies in a botnet.

We are not sure about the exact number of computers getting infected and waiting to be remotely operated on command to inhibit their regular Internet operation.

Currently there are no good tools to detect and remove Rootkit’s. Thus, you need to be sensitive towards your computer and take protective measures if you sense any strange behavior. Antivirus companies are aware of Rootkit’s and have released some dedicated tools to remove them from your computer system. Their problem is that when a computer gets infected with a Rootkit, the antivirus software does not function anymore.

If your computer is infected with a Rootkit:

You can download a known Rootkit removal tool and use it to clean your computer. While doing this, you should run your computer in safe mode.

If the tool identifies and removes the Rootkit, you should download the latest antivirus and perform complete system scan. Many a times, there are other viruses in the system and they can be detected and removed by the antivirus software once the Rootkit is removed from your system.

In other cases, you should consider reinstalling the operating system. Backup your data, (you can use cloud service such as drop box for that) and then reinstall your operating system. Make sure not to use any infected devices with your computer that might infect the system again.

If you have reason to believe that your credit card information was stolen, you should get your credit card replaced from the issuing company. Change your passwords in sensitive services such as bank accounts and PayPal. Once you do this, you minimize the risk of it being used by criminals.

I gained my Rootkit sensitivity when the credit card security called me and asked if I had charged $10,000 on my credit card in the past few days. After reinstalling my operating system, I sensed a new penetration attempt and decided that I need to do something about this threat to make the world a better and safer place!

Hello. My name is Michael. I am veteran computer programmer in the Internet Telecom arena. My main business is SipTelecom where I develop Internet phone software.

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