In I’ve Been Hacked! What Do I Do Now?, computer forensics expert witness Steven G. Burgess, Burgess Consulting and Forensics, writes:
What are some signs that could indicate that you have been hacked?
New programs have been installed on your computer – ones you didn’t install (although some software – especially free software – sneaks various programs and “helpful” browser tool bars past you).
New documents (that you have not written or downloaded) appear on your computer..
Documents disappear from your computer (although it’s not hard to accidentally delete or move files around without noticing).
Programs pop open that you didn’t click on (although there are other, innocent reasons this could happen).
You get odd pop-up messages that don’t seem to come from a program you are using.
Your passwords have changed (and not because you just forgot them, as I sometimes do).
Your security program(s) has been uninstalled or deactivated.
The computer is doing things by itself – the mouse moves and clicks on things without any action by you, for instance.
You find information about yourself on the Web that should only be known to you.
There’s a note displayed on your desktop – your screen – that you didn’t put there.
Read more: Burgess Consulting and Forensics