5 Essential Steps to Take After You've Been Hacked
If your PC or laptop has been hacked and infected with some kind of malware (like virus) you have to save your files from the process of being destroyed and, minimize the risk of your PC (or laptop) from being used to spread malware and potentially damage other computers.
Essential Steps To Take In Order To Get PC Back To Normal Again
- Disconnect your PC: You have to disconnect your computer if you want to stop a hacker from obtaining your files along with other important information. So, just unplug all cables (except keyboard and mouse) and physically turn off the wireless connection.
- Remove the hard disk and attach it to another PC: Before you take this step, make sure the other PC has updated versions of antivirus and anti-spyware programs. You can use an external hard drive caddy for connecting the hard disk. It is much easier. You can also internally connect your hard disk to another computer. Just check the jumper settings at the back of your hard disk and set them up to 'slave'. By the way, different types of hard drives require different techniques and tools (like adapters, enclosures, etc..) for removing it and installing to another working computer. So, if you are not sure how to do this, you should always consider taking your computer to a local PC repair shop.
- Use anti-malware software and backup: The third step is to scan the hard drive you now have connected using antivirus, anti-spyware, and anti rootkit scanners. This way, you will detect and remove all files affected by the virus(es). After that, back up all files you want to keep, or just clean the hard drive. When you finish doing this, then remove this hard drive again and put it back on your old PC. Just do not forget to set the drive switch to 'master'.
- Erase your hard disk: If you want to be sure the hard drive is completely free of any type of malware, use disk erase utility to blank the hard drive. My favorite one is DBAN, but you can use another one instead. Install it and wipe the hard disk according to instructions. It will permanently erase all data from hard disk. The hard disk wipe process can take for hours, but it is the best way to make sure that all threats are eliminated.
- Reload, reinstall, and update: The final step is to reload your operating system using trusted media like the original OS disks to update it. Then reinstall and update all antivirus programs. It is important to scan all files before moving them back to the system. After doing so, do a complete backup of your system.