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Paragon Solutions Spotlight: Has your computer been compromised? Learn what to do.

04-18-23

We’re pleased to kickoff a new series called Paragon Solutions Spotlight. These articles will discuss topics designed to help, educate and inform you. Today’s featured article addresses what to do if you feel your computer has been compromised. We thank our SVP, Information Technology and Deposit Operations, Kingston Blenis, for sharing his expertise today.

If you suspect that your computer may have been compromised by threat actors, it’s important to act as quickly as possible to protect your sensitive information and prevent further damage. Once a threat actor has access to your computer, any financial accounts you have accessed are at risk – as well as any other online accounts, documents, photos, videos, tax or legal records.

If this is a work computer, immediately contact your company’s IT department. Otherwise, if this is your personal computer, follow the recommendations below.

Step 1: Disconnect from the Internet

Disconnecting your computer from the Internet is the most important step and should be taken immediately. This will help prevent threat actors from being able to access your computer and potentially steal your personal information.

To disconnect from the Internet, unplug your Ethernet cable and/or turn off your Wi-Fi connection. If you are unsure how to do this, power your PC down and seek professional technical support.

Step 2: Run a malware/anti-virus scan

Run a full system scan using anti-virus software. If you already have anti-virus software installed, open it and run a full system scan. IF you do not have anti-virus software installed, Microsoft has a built-in virus scanner (Windows Defender) that can be used to conduct the scan.

Step 3: Change passwords

Change any passwords that may have been compromised, including passwords for email, social media, online banking, and any other accounts that may contain sensitive information. It is imperative that you take this step from a device that you know has not been compromised.

Use strong, unique passwords for each account. You can use a random password generator like the one found here to assist in creating a strong password. We also recommend that you use a highly rated password manager to help manage keeping track of those unique, complex passwords.

Additional Security

It is strongly recommended that you enable multi-factor authentication on any online accounts where it is available. This will provide an additional layer of security on your accounts.

Step 4: Contact your financial institutions

IF you have any financial information stored on your computer, it’s important to contact your bank, credit card companies, and credit reporting agencies to alert them of the possible breach. They can help monitor your accounts for any unusual activity. You can reach us at (866) 504-5556 to request assistance with monitoring your accounts for fraudulent activity.

Step 5: Consider professional Technical Support

If the above steps do not resolve the issue, or if you are unsure of what to do, consider seeking help from a reputable computer repair service or cybersecurity expert. They can provide more specialized assistance in removing any malware and securing your computer from future threats.

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