While surfing the Internet, some users have seen a pop-up message saying Your computer has been compromised or hacked. Different users have seen this message on different browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc. After receiving this warning message, the affected users scanned their computers with the antivirus installed on their systems, but the antivirus did not detect any threat. If the antivirus threat report is clear, what does this message mean? Is this message real or fake? In this article, we will see that Your computer has been compromised or hacked means a message and what you should do if you see this message on your computer.
Your computer has been compromised or hacked message
According to feedback from affected users, their web browser refuses to close after receiving a pop-up message. In addition, the contact number is displayed along with a warning message. When they contacted this number, the support person asked them for some money to fix the problem. On the other hand, some users have also reported that after visiting a certain web page, instead of a warning pop-up message, they heard a voice saying: “Your computer has been hacked“.
Some users were also asked to grant access to their computers in order to resolve the issue. This is spam and misleading. You must ignore this, otherwise you will become the prey of hackers. Moreover, if you grant access to your computer to the interlocutor, he/she may steal the data stored on your computer, which may contain confidential information.
These types of alert messages usually display either a contact number or a link. We recommend that you do not click on the link displayed in these types of warning messages. If you do this, a virus or malware may enter your system and start sending your data to hackers. Or by clicking on this link, you can install the program on your system. This program may contain suspicious code. Malicious programs of this type are designed to change registry keys on a user’s computer.
If you see Your computer has been compromised or hacked warning message while surfing the Internet, you should immediately take the following steps to protect your computer from malware or virus infection:
- Turn off your internet connection
- Close your web browser
- Scan your system with antivirus software
- Update your web browser
- Remove unwanted extensions
- Clear your browser cache or restart your browser
- Remove recently installed programs
- Run an SFC and DISM scan
We have detailed all these steps below.
1]Turn off your Internet connection.
First, disconnect your Internet connection immediately.
2]Close the web browser
The next thing you should do is close your web browser. But according to users, the pop-up message can prevent you from closing your web browser. If something like this happens to you, follow these steps to close your web browser:
- click Ctrl + Shift + Escs to run task manager.
- When Task Manager appears on the screen, select Processes.
- You will see your web browser under Apps. Right click in the web browser and select End Task.
If the above method doesn’t work, force shutdown your computer by pressing and holding the power button and then turn it on.
3]Scan your system with antivirus software
If you clicked on the link in the warning message, or if you gave access to your computer to the attendant, there is a good chance that your computer is infected with a virus. Run a full system antivirus scan.
read: How do you know if your computer has a virus?
4]Update your web browser
Launch your web browser and close any open tabs, if any.
Now update your web browser. It is recommended to always use the latest version of the software to avoid crashes. If you are using the latest version of your web browser, you are less likely to be infected with a virus or malware.
read: Internet Fraud in Cybercrime: Prevention, Detection, Recovery
5]Remove unnecessary extensions
Now the next step is to remove unwanted extensions from your web browser. Extensions make our work easier in a web browser. Sometimes extensions cause problems. If you clicked on the link displayed in the warning message, the extension may have been installed on your browser without your knowledge. Hence, it is important to check if any unwanted extension is installed in your browser. If you find any unwanted extension or extension installed in your web browser without your knowledge, remove it immediately.
read: A guide to malware removal and tools for beginners.
6]Delete your browser cache or reset your browser settings.
You should also delete your browsing history, including cookies and cache data. click Ctrl + Shift + Deletec to open Clear Browsing Data in your web browser. This shortcut works with most web browsers. When the Clear Browsing Data window appears, select Cookies, Cache, and Browsing History. In the time range, select All Time. If you would like to delete saved passwords, you can also do so.
Alternatively, you may want to consider resetting your browser to its default state to be very safe. The steps to reset some popular web browsers are explained below:
- To reset or update Mozilla Firefox, open its settings and go to “Help > Troubleshooting Information“. Now click on Refresh Firefox.
- To reset Google Chrome, open its settings and go to advanced settings. Now click on Restore settings to their original defaults.
- To reset Microsoft Edge, open its settings and click the button Reset Settings on the left panel.
7]Remove recently installed programs
If you called the scammers or clicked on the link displayed in the warning message, the scammers may have installed a program on your system. Open the Apps & Features page in Windows 11/10 Settings and see if any recently installed program is installed. If yes, remove it immediately. The following steps will help you understand how to do this.
- Open Windows 11/10 settings.
- Go to “Apps > Apps & Features“.
- Sort all installed programs by date. To do this, select date installed in Sort by.
- See if any program is installed without your knowledge. If yes, remove it.
8]Run SFC and DISM Scan
It is also possible that some of your system image files are corrupted due to malware or virus infection. To check this, run an SFC scan. SFC stands for System File Checker. It is an automated tool developed by Microsoft that checks for corrupted or damaged system image files and repairs them (if possible).
We also suggest that you run a DISM scan on your system. DISM, or Deployment Image Servicing and Management, is a command-line tool. Like SFC, it also repairs corrupted system image files. It is typically used when SFC is unable to restore system image files.
read: What to do after a ransomware attack on your Windows PC?
What does it mean if your computer is compromised?
A compromised computer is a computer whose privacy has been compromised either intentionally or unintentionally. The term “compromised computer” is commonly used for hacked computers. There are many ways that hackers can break into your system. The most common method is a phishing attempt. Phishing attempts are usually carried out by sending an email to the user with suspicious links. When a user clicks on these links, they will be redirected to a website that looks exactly like the official site. These websites trick users into entering their sensitive information when they log in. In this way, hackers steal users’ confidential information.
While surfing the Internet through a web browser, some of you may have seen messages similar to the following after visiting certain websites:
- Your computer may be at risk. Run a free antivirus scan to protect your computer.
- Virus detected. Run a free antivirus scan to remove the virus from your computer.
These types of websites are malicious websites. When clicking on any of the links on such sites, malware is installed on the user’s computer. Once the malware is installed on his computer, the malicious code is executed and the hacker can steal information from the infected computer. Some malware is also capable of modifying registry keys on a Windows computer.
TIP: stay safe, avoid online scams and know when to trust a website!
Microsoft is calling you about your computer being hacked?
Keep in mind that neither Microsoft nor its partners call you about the security of your computer. You need to learn how to identify scammers who are using the Microsoft name fraudulently. The purpose of these calls is to steal sensitive data from the user’s computer so that they can use it for blackmail purposes. The attendant may also request access to your computer by installing certain software. If you give him/her access to your computer, he/she may run malicious code on your system or completely block your computer. After that, the hacker will ask you for a certain amount of money to unlock the computer.
Hope this helps.
Read next: Command and Control Cyber attacks: how to detect and prevent them?