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Nothing stops work progress faster than a nasty bit of malicious software. Even with the safest browsing habits and top-notch security products, viruses, hackers and malware can sometimes slip through. The exact method for dealing with a hacked computer depends on the nature of the hack, but there are a few general steps you can take to get your computer back on the right path.
how to unhack your computer
What To Do If Your Computer Has Been Hacked
Back up your sensitive data including work documents and applications. Regular backups to an external hard drive should be a part of your computer security protocol.
Run security sweeps with anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-spyware scanners. Layered scans help ensure that any bits of malicious code are picked up; using only one solution may leave you vulnerable to specific attacks.
Change the passwords used for all of your business and personal accounts. If there was spyware on your computer, treat every password you have typed since your computer became infected as compromised and come up with new ones.
Update your operating system. Both Windows and OS X are regularly updated by their creators to seal security holes and help prevent new infections.
Install and enable a firewall program, if you do not have one already. It is always best to stop hacks before they start.
what to do if your personal computer has been hacked
Types of hacking
Here are some of the reasons computer hackers break into devices:
- Financial crimes. We’ve all heard the classic story of somebody checking their credit card statement, only to find transactions they didn’t make. These false transactions are often the result of computer hackers stealing your credit card numbers, checking account info or gaining access to other financial data.
- Vandalism. Hacking has its own subculture, so some hackers may want to vandalize certain websites just to show off to other hackers. Does it sound ridiculous? Don’t make the mistake of not taking this motivation seriously; it’s fairly common, according to Malwarebytes.
- Hacktivism. This portmanteau describes a form of hacking somewhat like vandalism. Some hackers may want to alter or destroy certain websites for politically motivated reasons.
- Corporate espionage. Spying existed long before the internet era, and hacking has only made espionage more accessible to the everyday person. With much of the world constantly connected to the internet, one company can hack into other companies’ devices to steal their information and use it to build an unfair competitive advantage.
Key takeaway: Hackers have a variety of motivations, ranging from financial gain to political goals. Awareness of these intentions can help you anticipate attacks that could affect your small business.
How to secure your computer from hackers
Despite the prevalence of computer hackers, most businesses rely on the internet to track their financials, order and maintain inventory, conduct marketing and PR campaigns, connect with customers, engage in social media, and perform other critical operations. Yet we continue to hear about massive computer breaches, even at giant corporations with robust security measures in place.
Small businesses are often targets as well, especially because they may underestimate the risk of cybercrime and may not have the resources to employ expensive cybersecurity solutions. Follow these tips to protect your devices and safeguard your sensitive data:
1. Use a firewall.
Windows and macOS have built-in firewalls – software designed to create a barrier between your information and the outside world. Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to your business network and alert you to any intrusion attempts.
Make sure the firewall is enabled before you go online. You can also purchase a hardware firewall from companies such as Cisco, Sophos or Fortinet, depending on your broadband router, which also has a built-in firewall that protects your network. If you have a larger business, you can purchase an additional business networking firewall.
2. Install antivirus software.
Computer viruses and malware are everywhere. Antivirus programs such as Bitdefender, Panda Free Antivirus, Malwarebytes and Avast protect your computer against unauthorized code or software that may threaten your operating system. Viruses may have easy-to-spot effects – for example, they might slow your computer or delete key files – or they may be less conspicuous.
Antivirus software plays a major role in protecting your system by detecting real-time threats to ensure your data is safe. Some advanced antivirus programs provide automatic updates, further protecting your machine from the new viruses that emerge every day. After you install an antivirus program, don’t forget to use it. Run or schedule regular virus scans to keep your computer virus-free. [Looking for antivirus software for your business? Check out our picks for the best antivirus software.]
3. Install an anti-spyware package.
Spyware is a special kind of software that secretly monitors and collects personal or organizational information. It is designed to be hard to detect and difficult to remove and tends to deliver unwanted ads or search results that are intended to direct you to certain (often malicious) websites.
Some spyware records every keystroke to gain access to passwords and other financial information. Anti-spyware concentrates exclusively on this threat, but it is often included in major antivirus packages, like those from Webroot, McAfee and Norton. Anti-spyware packages provide real-time protection by scanning all incoming information and blocking threats.
4. Use complex passwords.
Using secure passwords is the most important way to prevent network intrusions. The more secure your passwords are, the harder it is for a hacker to invade your system.
More secure often means longer and more complex. Use a password that has at least eight characters and a combination of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and computer symbols. Hackers have an arsenal of tools to break short, easy passwords in minutes.
Don’t use recognizable words or combinations that represent birthdays or other information that can be connected to you. Don’t reuse passwords, either. If you have too many passwords to remember, consider using a password manager, such as Dashlane, Sticky Password, LastPass or Password Boss. [See related article: How to Create a Strong Password]
5. Keep your OS, apps and browser up-to-date.
Always install new updates to your operating systems. Most updates include security fixes that prevent hackers from accessing and exploiting your data. The same goes for apps. Today’s web browsers are increasingly sophisticated, especially in privacy and security. Be sure to review your browser security settings in addition to installing all new updates. For example, you can use your browser to prevent websites from tracking your movements, which increases your online privacy. Or, use one of these private web browsers.
6. Ignore spam.
Beware of email messages from unknown parties, and never click on links or open attachments that accompany them. Inbox spam filters have gotten pretty good at catching the most conspicuous spam. But more sophisticated phishing emails that mimic your friends, associates and trusted businesses (like your bank) have become common, so keep your eyes open for anything that looks or sounds suspicious.
7. Back up your computer.
If your business is not already backing up your hard drive, you should begin doing so immediately. Backing up your information is critical in case hackers do succeed in getting through and trashing your system.
Always be sure you can rebuild as quickly as possible after suffering any data breach or loss. Backup utilities built into macOS (Time Machine) and Windows (File History) are good places to start. An external backup hard drive can also provide enough space for these utilities to operate properly.
8. Shut it down.
Many businesses, especially those operating a web server, are “all systems go” all the time. If you’re not operating a complex internet-based company, however, switch off your machine overnight or during long stretches when you’re not working. Always being on makes your computer a more visible and available target for hackers; shutting down breaks the connection a hacker may have established with your network and disrupts any possible mischief.
9. Use virtualization.
Not everyone needs to take this route, but if you visit sketchy websites, expect to be bombarded with spyware and viruses. While the best way to avoid browser-derived intrusions is to steer clear of unsafe sites, virtualization allows you to run your browser in a virtual environment, like Parallels or VMware Fusion, that sidesteps your operating system to keep it safer.
10. Secure your network.
Routers don’t usually come with the highest security settings enabled. When setting up your network, log in to the router, and set a password using a secure, encrypted setup. This prevents intruders from infiltrating your network and messing with your settings.
11. Use two-factor authentication.
Passwords are the first line of defense against computer hackers, but a second layer boosts protection. Many sites let you enable two-factor authentication, which boosts security because it requires you to type in a numerical code – sent to your phone or email address – in addition to your password when logging in.
12. Use encryption.
Even if cybercriminals gain access to your network and files, encryption can prevent them from accessing any of that information. You can encrypt your Windows or macOS hard drive with BitLocker (Windows) or FileVault (Mac), encrypt any USB flash drive that contains sensitive information and use a VPN to encrypt web traffic. Only shop at encrypted websites; you can spot them immediately by the “https” in the address bar, accompanied by a closed-padlock icon. [See related article: A Small Business Guide to Computer Encryption]
Key takeaway: Combining security tools and best practices can protect your computers and your network from unauthorized access.
How to secure your phone from hackers
To secure your mobile device, you may need to take different security measures than you would to secure a computer. Follow these tips from Webroot to help you protect your mobile devices from hackers:
13. Turn off Bluetooth.
When you’re not using Bluetooth, turn it off. Keeping your Bluetooth on but dormant opens another back door for computer hackers.
14. Don’t use unsecured public Wi-Fi.
Password-free, widely used Wi-Fi networks have no security features. As such, they’re prime targets for computer hackers.
15. Get a security app.
Install a security app on your phone, just as you should install a firewall, antivirus software and an anti-spyware package on your computer. Popular options include Avast, Kaspersky Mobile Antivirus and Bitdefender.
16. Use a better passcode.
Unlock codes like 0000 and 1234 are easy to remember, but they’re also easy to guess. Instead, opt for a randomly generated, six-number passcode.
17. Switch off autocomplete.
Autocomplete is the feature that guesses what you’re typing and completes the word, phrase or other information for you. While convenient, this tool all but hands your email address, mailing address, phone number and other important information to hackers. Switch it off.
18. Clear your browsing history.
Your mobile web browser has a browsing history, too. Clear it often – including cookies and cached files – to give hackers as little information as possible to work with if they do break into your phone.
BEST SITES LIKE ALIEXPRESS FOR ONLINE SHOPPING
AliExpress is a massively popular Chinese online retail service owned by Alibaba Group. It was launched in 2010 and hasn’t stopped its journey to becoming the ‘biggest online marketplace of the world‘ ever-since. AliExpress stands toe-to-toe even with Amazon in terms of buyers worldwide. It offers wholesale goods at direct-to-consumer prices from Chinese sellers.
It also works as a great dropshipping model for a lot of e-commerce entrepreneurs. Along with a lot of good sides, AliExpress has some cons as well. The biggest problem is the shipping time of AliExpress orders, which is pretty long considering the goods come from China. Also, some orders can be very expensive after shipping charges and taxes.
So, it is a good thing to have some AliExpress alternatives whenever you don’t like its services. That’s why we are telling you about 21 best sites like AliExpress. Some of these websites offer cheaper prices and faster shipping on certain products. And, you can also use them to maintain a nice profit margin for your dropshipping business.
LightInTheBox is the perfect AliExpress alternative as it is also a Chinese e-Store. It sells hot and trending products across the globe. Their products range from phone and electronics to fashion, jewelry, shoes, bags, and many other items. You can find almost anything here at a very cheap price.
The delivery time of LightInTheBox is also similar to AliExpress as their warehouses are located only in China. But, you may get a faster shipping time due to having fewer orders to ship. You can pay for your orders with PayPal, Western Union, or your credit card.
Wish is a widely popular online marketplace where you can buy almost anything. From clothing to footwear, electronics, healthcare items, and many more things, you can get them all for an incredibly cheap price. They are also known to offer great deals and coupons to their new customers.
Their shipping time is also faster than AliExpress as their products come from sellers located in small countries. Wish also provides an advanced rating system that is very helpful for both the consumers as well as sellers. It helps promote good ones.
Overstock is a US-based online marketplace. It makes profit by selling wholesale products at a highly cheap price tag. A major portion of their stock is comprised of overstock from the major retailers or their seconds. You can find some really amusing deals here. The shipping time will also be lower as compared to the Chinese marketplaces. You can get your items within a week.
The product range of Overstock is incredible. You can find everything such as clothing, decor, kitchen appliances, and many more items. You can even find furniture and other big home items. So, you can use to fill your house with great stuff at a reduced price.
DealeXtreme, more popularly known as DX, is an amazing online marketplace. The website works in a very similar manner as ‘Wish’ and sells cheap products coming directly from sellers. It has partnered with many small businesses and sells its products to a wide base of audience.
The shipping time is a problem with DX also because their warehouses are located in China. Apart from this, you can get some really worthy deals on DX. You should always keep an eye on their clearance sales for the best prices.
Gearbest is the perfect AliExpress alternative if you are looking to shop for the latest gadgets or electronic devices. It works with over 5000 Chinese brands and top suppliers to deliver the best products. It has products from top Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, and many others. But, it isn’t just an electronic store.
You can also find a massive range of other products as well. The prices available on GearBest are reduced, and you can even reduce them with the available coupons. They also have warehouses in multiple countries. So, you can get faster shipping from the local warehouse.
BangGood is another Chinese e-commerce platform that provides worldwide shipping of cheap goods. You can find almost anything on this website, from clothing to electronics, and even home items. The prices available are marked down from their original prices. You can also get amazing deals during special clearance sales.
BangGood provides a free $20 coupon to every new user. The shipping time for BangGood orders is faster than AliExpress for certain products. However, the regular shipping time is similar.
ChinaBrands is a widely popular Chinese e-Store where you can buy products at wholesale prices. You can find almost anything on this website at a highly affordable price. Their shipping prices are also low but you will get a long shipping time. It is the perfect website for buyers who want the lowest prices but can wait for their orders for at least a month.
Most of the ChinaBrands sellers run their factories from China, and their warehouses are located there only. This is the reason for the considerably long shipping time.
Bonanza is a unique American online marketplace where you can find a great range of products. They have over 20 million items from more than 50,000 sellers. It is a growing e-commerce store where even you can sell your items. It is a preferred platform by more than 20,000 entrepreneurial sellers. You can find some really amazing handcrafted items and collectibles here.
For people looking to shop regular items, this store may disappoint you a little. The prices of some items may be a little higher than some Chinese stores. But, the quality provided will be worth it.
21 ALIEXPRESS ALTERNATIVE STORES
Here are 21 AliExpress Alternatives that you can use to shop online.
- DealXtreme (DX)
- American Greenwood
AliExpress is amazing but it is always good to have options when you are shopping. So, these are the 21 best sites like AliExpress. If you ever feel like you should look somewhere else, these are some stores that you should visit. You can also use these for your dropshipping business if you are an aspiring entrepreneur. Make sure you have a solid plan before beginning.