|

Hijacking ahoyHave you noticed a sudden slow-down in your PC's performance? Does your Internet router or modem seem to be working (lots of lights flashing) even when you're not browsing the Net? Have your browser settings (like homepage and default search engines) changed without your permission? If you answered 'yes' to any two of these questions, there's a good chance that your computer has been hijacked by hackers. Hijacked PCs are often used to harvest personal information like credit card details and are sometimes even employed by hackers to act as web servers which spread more spam, Trojans and viruses as well as other dangerous or illegal software. But fear not: there are three simple steps you can take to rescue your hijacked computer.

Step one: Disconnect

The first thing you should do is disconnect your PC from the internet and your home network. This is important for two reasons: hijacked computers receive instructions automatically via the internet, as well as uploading private information they may have harvested; also, an infected PC might well infect other devices connected to your home network, spreading the infection and putting more of your data at risk.

Step two: Clean up

You can get your PC clean by downloading and installing various free programs, but as your PC is already offline you'll need to get hold of them at a friend's house or perhaps at work. Make sure that you use a new USB stick or CD-ROM to store the software as any storage device that has been in contact with the hijacked machine is a potential infection hazard. The programs you'll need are: Ad-Aware, Avast! Antivirus, GMER and Spybot Search & Destroy. Install these and run each in turn, using the maximum possible security settings. It's a good idea to run them in Safe Mode too (you can launch Safe Mode by pressing and holding the F8 key as your computer boots).

Step three: Protect yourself

By now you should have eliminated even the most sneaky key-loggers and Trojans from your PC - but you're still at risk if you're not a careful Internet user. Downloading certain pirated materials or software cracks over the net will massively increase the chance that your PC will become hijacked again. The best advice I can offer here is that once you're sure that you've erased all sign of the offending malware from your computer, you should use a backup program to create a one-off copy of your system in a stable state. That way, even if your anti-virus software and anti-spyware precautions somehow fail, you'll have a safe version of your system which you can fall back on.

Commented

  • Janis |
    31/01/08
    Janis

    A bit of alright, J

  • Vote for this article at blogengage.com |
    26/10/08
    Vote for this article at blogengage.com

    Three steps to rescuing a hijacked computer

    Trojans and viruses as well as other dangerous or illegal software. But fear not: there are three simple steps you can take to rescue your hijacked computer.

  • Added by a PAL to FAQ PAL |
    26/10/08
    Added by a PAL to FAQ PAL

    Three steps to rescuing a hijacked computer

    Trojans and viruses as well as other dangerous or illegal software. But fear not: there are three simple steps you can take to rescue your hijacked computer.

  • Geoserv |
    26/10/08
    Geoserv

    STUMBLED!

    Good post, bookmarked it FAQPAL.com as well.

  • Dianna |
    01/06/10
    Dianna

    Thats all great, however I have been hijacked for over a year, and have talked to everyone in the world from microsoft to mcafee to norton to my internet company and no one can help me get rid of this a hole. he has me soooo jacked i have done everything short of getting a new laptop and home computer. (which both were about a month old when i was jacked, so being brand new (now about a year old), that is not an option at this point especially since it cost me $3500.00 for both. Somehow, (not on the hard drive) he has a program installed that reinstalls and reinfects my system. I know this because i disconnected my internet, opened up my laptop and disconnected the wireless internet (for safety), took out hard drive and replaced with a brand new one, only to find when I shut down the laptop-After installing Windows on the new hard drive-and there were his programs again latching on to my system. My laptop was normal when i installed new drive and reinstalled Windows, but the first time the system shut down and rebooted is when it showed up again. ANY IDEAS? ANY HELP? ANY OTHER DIRECTION FOR ME TO GO? (ASIDE FROM REPLACING COMPUTERS)

  • Tom Clarke |
    01/06/10
    Tom Clarke

    Hi Dianna,

    That sounds terrible! Without having any screenshots, I can only guess that your PC has something - a DVD/CD-ROM, or USB device perhaps - connected to it which is forcing a reinstall of these items each tikme your PC reboots.

    It would be helpful if you could tell me the names of the programs involved (which you see appearing on the desktop), and even better if you could take some screenshots to show us exactly what the problem is. You can upload screenshots to http://tinypic.com - then post the URLs in a comment here. Or email us at: ask@onsoftware.com

  • sukhmander |
    30/09/10
    sukhmander

    Thats all great, however I have been hijacked for over a year, and have talked to everyone in the world from microsoft to mcafee to norton to my internet company and no one can help me get rid of this a hole. he has me soooo jacked i have done everything short of getting a new laptop and home computer. (which both were about a month old when i was jacked, so being brand new (now about a year old), that is not an option at this point especially since it cost me $3500.00 for both. Somehow, (not on the hard drive) he has a program installed that reinstalls and reinfects my system. I know this because i disconnected my internet, opened up my laptop and disconnected the wireless internet (for safety), took out hard drive and replaced with a brand new one, only to find when I shut down the laptop-After installing Windows on the new hard drive-and there were his programs again latching on to my system. My laptop was normal when i installed new drive and reinstalled Windows, but the first time the system shut down and rebooted is when it showed up again. ANY IDEAS? ANY HELP? ANY OTHER DIRECTION FOR ME TO GO? (ASIDE FROM REPLACING COMPUTERS) sukhmanders@gmail.com 9646128379

  • Tony Momsen |
    21/06/13
    Tony Momsen

    Mine has been to the computer shop twice for the same problem. Each time I started them up the same crap was there. Pop ups every where. If I clicked on a link it may come up it usually sens you to a survey or some weird places..0I have used spybot, Norton's erase,malwarebytes all to no avail. This may just turn out to be a very expensive item. I would like to catch one of these hackers and put him or her in the ground. They have caused a lot of us to go through a bunch of BS and expense. Especially i we have to buy a new computer...HAS ANYONE tried to just wipe the computer then re-installing what you need? I might try that.

  • linda kimmel |
    13/07/13
    linda kimmel

    i am not very computer savvy and i dont really use the internet for awhole lot but what happened to be is that that hijacker or hacker came into my facebook and took over i think i could have accept them even as friends I dont do much but play games and look up checkmate names but my hacker seems to be of a personal nature they still my mail they move pics around they do something to let me know they are there they are here as i type i can tell because my computer is really getting slow this person uses my user name and i have hired a company to clear out my ocmputer they say it is save but i still have all kind of reasons to beleive it is not i get phone calls tht will never answer and when i call the number back that dont respond my husband got a phone call at work and he doesnt even go on the computer that was bogus i have tired to get help i love to get on my computer to use it i feel i have that right i feel so abused by this hacker and it feels so personal this might all sound weird but it is happening in my home on my computer the sad thing is that i dont know who it is or what they want if u have feed back let me know ty

23/04/14
Your avatar