93% of organization data breaches in 2014 involved insecure remote access. The idea that someone can gain remote access to your computer and install ransomware (or worse) without your permission is scary. With that said, sometimes remote access is necessary.
Wondering how can you tell if someone is remotely accessing your computer? Or why anyone would allow remote access in the first place? Read on to find out more.
How Can You Tell If Someone Is Remotely Accessing Your Computer
Do you have a sneaking suspicion someone has remote access to your computer? Here are some telltale signs.
Your Computer is Doing Things on its Own
This is the most obvious sign that someone is accessing your computer. You might notice your mouse cursor is moving on its own or that something is being typed out without you typing it. You may also see files get deleted or programs get opened on their own.
That said, it’s important to realize what remote access is not. Computers often turn on and install updates without any user agency. Before panicking, make sure that the programs installing are not automatic system updates.
Check Current Computer Activity
It’s important to check that your system isn’t running any abnormal programs. First, you’ll want to look at active programs with your Activity Monitor or Task Manager. If you see any unfamiliar programs, try looking them up online to check that they aren’t nefarious.
Check for the following list of common remote access programs:
If you see any of these programs, take action immediately.
Keep an eye on your CPU usage, too: is it unusually high? This could be a sign nefarious programs are running in the background. Note that it could just program updating or files downloading in the background.
Less Obvious Signs of Remote Access
An attack on your computer might be more subtle. Here, we’ll list some warning signs.
- New programs appear on your computer that you don’t remember installing.
- Your security software has been uninstalled.
- Your internet connection slows down drastically.
- Your passwords have been changed but you didn’t change them.
- You get reports that others have been receiving strange emails from your account.
- An unknown program is requesting Internet access.
- Your web browser configuration has changed.
Note that any one of these things can be caused by something other than a remote access attack. So before you take action, check for alternative explanations.
How to Know If You Should Allow Someone to Remotely Access Your Computer
Now you know how can you tell if someone is remotely accessing your computer. But believe it or not, there are cases where you’ll want to allow remote access to your computer.
One of the most popular reasons to allow remote access is to get remote computer repair. These services tend to be faster and cheaper than traditional computer repair options. But are they safe?
If you are considering any service that requires remote access, ask yourself:
- Is the company reputable?
- Would you trust the same company to have physical access to your computer?
- Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
- Did they contact you first? If so, this is almost certainly a scam: do NOT give them access!
If you answered yes to these questions, then feel free to hire the company. But be sure to stay vigilant. Remember: just because you can see what they’re doing on your desktop doesn’t mean there isn’t more going on beneath the surface.
Be Aware of Remote Access
We hope you’ve learned all about how can you tell if someone is remotely accessing your computer, as well as some of the benefits remote access can have. Read on to learn more about why you need to be vigilant about business data security.