How to Remove Hackers From a Computer
By James Wright
With the use of computers and the Internet comes the threat of hackers -- people who use malicious software that takes advantage of security flaws to gain access to other computers and steal personal data. It can be a frightening experience to discover your computer has been hacked, but you can use security software to cut off unauthorized access to your computer and close any holes the hackers may attempt to use.
Download and install an anti-spyware/malware program on your computer. Popular free security programs include Malwarebytes, Spyware Terminator, and SUPERAntiSpyware. These programs scan your computer in search of keyloggers and other malicious programs that hackers may have installed surreptitiously.
Before you scan for malware, update your security program; to be effective, anti-malware programs need to have the most recent list of malicious software. When the update is complete, disconnect your computer from the Internet. Any programs the hackers use probably communicate using the Internet, so this cuts off their communication while you remove the malware from your computer. Closing your network link also prevents the malicious software from doing any additional damage. If your computer isn't connected to the Internet, the malware has to have direct physical access to your computer to be a threat.
Run a complete system scan. Scanning your hard drive can take more than an hour, and the scan is processor-intensive, so your computer will run slower during the scan. When the scan finishes, delete all instances of keyloggers and other malicious software it detected.
Reconnect your computer to the Internet and immediately change the passwords for all your online accounts, such as banking, email, and social networks. If hackers had access to your computer, they may have gotten into these accounts, so change your passwords quickly. Also check your accounts for any inconsistencies to make sure nothing has been changed.
Download and install a firewall program for your computer to protect against any future intrusions. Popular firewalls include Comodo Internet Security, Ashampoo FireWall, and ZoneAlarm. Recent versions of Windows have a firewall built in, so ensure the firewall is active by opening the Windows Firewall in the Control Panel. Finally, change your computer's account password to prevent anyone from accessing your account from the computer itself.
- It is possible that the tools hackers are using cannot be detected by security applications. If this is the case, you will need to perform a factory reset on your computer, using your computer's installation CDs to reinstall the OS and start from scratch. If you need to do this, back up all your files and make note of what programs you need to reinstall.
Based in California, James Wright has been writing since 1998. Wright's articles have been published on various websites with a focus on technical fields such as computers and the Internet, and were also featured in a now-retired publication for an online artistic community. Wright studied English, journalism, politics and psychology at Riverside Community College.