Stay Safe Online: How to respond to a computer hack

July 14, 2023

A computer hack can feel like your whole world just stopped. If your device has been compromised, follow these first steps from our Community Security Director Tom to get you safely back online.

 

1. Disconnect the computer from WiFi and turn it off.  This computer is “fried” and should not be used again.

 

2. Determine if you have a back-up of the data on your device. If there is, find out if it is an “air gap” back-up, meaning there was no connection between the compromised computer and the data back-up.

 

3. Lock-down any bank accounts you do not need to access. Your bank most likely will allow you to place a temporary block on different accounts and limit withdrawals and wire transfer debits.

 

4. Change ALL of your passwords from another computer that was never connected to the compromised computer.

 

5. Enroll in a credit watch program such as Life-Lock (For more see, https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/best-identity-theft-protection/)

 

6. If not already done so, enable and require two-factor authentication on all your financial accounts, social media, email, etc.

 

7. File a report at www.IC3.gov. Protect yourself and others by reporting the incident with the government.

 

8. Do not answer any calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail, and then callback if needed.

 

9. Turn off your WiFi router, perform a factory reset/re-boot, change the WiFi password, and disable remote administration for the router from the web interface. If you have questions about accessing the interface, contact your network provider.

 

10. Buy a new computer with good anti-virus and VPN.

 

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