‘White hat’ hacker warns: 5 signs that your account is compromised!

If you receive messages but not notifications, beware...

13 mins read

Smartphones are now a part of both our work and private lives… With phones taking up so much space in our lives, we need to be very careful about security. In recent years, cyber hackers have mostly targeted our e-mail, social media and bank accounts. So how do we know when we are under threat? Finnish ‘white hat’ hacker Ash Shatrieh pointed out five key signs that our accounts are being accessed by third parties. We analyzed Shatrieh’s warnings with experts.

Smartphones, which are the key to communication, financial transactions and social life, have become a profit center for hackers in recent years. Cyber hackers can easily access our smartphones, which contain many personal data such as e-mail, social media, bank accounts and address information.

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But according to experts, there are ways to recognize these attacks. Ash Shatrieh, a white hat hacker who works as a ‘threat intelligence researcher’ at Finland-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, pointed out that there are signals that indicate accounts may be compromised.

“First of all, you need to have an antivirus program on your computer or phone,” Shatrieh told the Daily Mail. You should also run frequent virus scans. But there are other ways to tell if a hacker has accessed your accounts. You need to pay close attention to the five basic signs.”

We examined the five basic signs underlined by Shatrieh with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Murat Kırık, Head of the Department of Visual Communication Design at Marmara University Faculty of Communication and Information Technologies Expert, and Cyber Security Expert Osman Demircan.


“We know that this algorithm tends to show people content that is relevant to their interests. If content and ads that are not normally in front of you appear too often, someone may be tampering with your account.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Murat Kırık emphasized that this warning is very accurate and said, “Seeing a content or advertisement that normally never appears in front of us; It may be a sign that our account is being checked, followed or tampered with. There are several reasons for this situation,” he said:

— For example, cyber attackers may have gained unauthorized access to your account and may collect this information to try to understand your interests. This could be used to show you more specific and relevant ads. Another possibility is that your account data has been compromised as a result of a data breach. In this case, cyber hackers could use this data to take over your account or expose you to targeted ads.

— Social media bots can also follow your account and try to learn about your interests. This information can then be used to target ads. However, it is important to emphasize this: Social media platforms are constantly updating their algorithms to better understand users’ interests. Therefore, any new content or ads you don’t normally see may not necessarily mean that your account has been directly compromised.

Beyaz şapkalı hacker uyardı: Hesabınızın tehlikede olduğunu gösteren 5 işaret Mesaj alıyor ama bildirim almıyorsanız dikkat...


Secondly, Shatrieh mentioned bank accounts, noting that hackers may first make small purchases or money transfers to see if you’ll notice.

“Hackers can start with small transactions as a test before they go bigger,” said Shatrieh, who advised checking accounts frequently.

So how do cyber hackers do it?

“Phishing method is used to infiltrate phones with links, pictures and other documents sent using the phishing method,” said Osman Demircan, “Hackers usually take over the entire phone with this method. Since they can access applications and verification tools such as SMS, if there is a lot of money in the accounts, the transfer of this money is realized immediately.”

Stating that the attitude of hackers has changed here if the account accessed does not contain a large amount of money, Demircan underlined the following important information:

— There are various phases here. The first is the waiting phase. The hacker, who has access to the phone and the app, waits until a large amount of money enters the account. During this waiting phase, he does not take any action. Another phase is to make small, inconspicuous money transfers. These transfers consist of very small two-digit amounts that appear to be for any transaction when the account activity is monitored. Because the number is small, the individual does not realize they have been hacked.

— Very small amounts of money transferred from a seized phone may not mean anything to a single person. However, if 20 liras are taken from 1 million phones, it can be a huge 20-million-euro haul. When this kind of cyber theft is understood, no action should be taken on the phone. Only by turning it off, the complaint process should be initiated.


Ash Shatrieh said that if you no longer receive the notifications you normally receive on email and social media accounts, they may be going elsewhere.

According to Shatrieh, hackers may be allowing some messages to reach you and hiding others in your inbox or redirecting them elsewhere.

Stating that there are several reasons for this situation, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Murat Kırık said, “First, there is a possibility that your password has been compromised. Hackers can access your account by stealing your password and change your notification settings. Second, your account may be infected with malware, which can cause notifications to be redirected elsewhere. The third is that your accounts may have been compromised as a result of a data breach.”

“If you notice this situation, first change your account password, add two-factor authentication to your account and check your notification settings to take precautions. You can also increase your overall account security by following the security recommendations of the platforms where you manage your accounts.”

Beyaz şapkalı hacker uyardı: Hesabınızın tehlikede olduğunu gösteren 5 işaret Mesaj alıyor ama bildirim almıyorsanız dikkat...


Ash Shatrieh reminded us in his fourth warning that if you use a Gmail account, you can check if your email account has been logged into from another location.

For example, if a user sees that their account has been logged into from another city, it could mean that the account has been compromised by a hacker. Shatrieh advised to check this information periodically.

When we asked Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Murat Kırık how to check if the account has been logged in from another location, he said, “After logging into your Gmail account, there is a ‘Security’ option in the left navigation menu. From here, you need to select ‘Recent Security Activities’ and click on the ‘Logins’ tab. This page lists the devices and locations logging into the account.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kırık said, “If you notice that your account is logged in from a different location, change your account password. Add two-factor authentication to your account.”

Beyaz şapkalı hacker uyardı: Hesabınızın tehlikede olduğunu gösteren 5 işaret Mesaj alıyor ama bildirim almıyorsanız dikkat...


Finally, Shatrieh said that if a user’s account has been suspended and the individual does not know why, a hacker may be behind it, “If you receive notifications that your account has been suspended or deleted, this may indicate malicious activity. Also, if your account is constantly logged in or out without your permission, be sure to examine these login attempts.”

Osman Demircan said, “Unfortunately, accounts are closed with many illegal methods or suspended by mass complaints. If many social media users experience one of these situations, they try for a short time to regain or activate their account and then give up. It should never be forgotten that that account still belongs to you!”

Demircan continued as follows:

— When we give up on getting the account back and create a new account, hackers can forge documents or notifications and become the owner of the account. Thus, our friend list is completely at risk. Because the account that we gave up and the hacker activated with fake documents and updated access information is still pretending to be us. And our friends don’t know this.

— Our friends can face many scams, such as so-called opportunity messages, phishing attacks by sending links or asking for money. The bad thing is that we can be at the center of the scam because we appear to be the account holder. If our account has been unfairly suspended or closed, it is absolutely necessary to fight and get it back. Because unfortunately, we do not have a chance like ‘rejected social media’.

Beyaz şapkalı hacker uyardı: Hesabınızın tehlikede olduğunu gösteren 5 işaret Mesaj alıyor ama bildirim almıyorsanız dikkat...


‘If your phone battery drains more quickly than usual, it may be accessed’

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ali Murat Kırık said, “If you are experiencing situations such as the installation of new software, the emergence of unknown files or folders, or your device running slower than usual, it is very important to pay attention to these symptoms.”

Osman Demircan also pointed out that if there is a change in the usage routine, something is wrong, “For example, if the battery of a phone that is used for 24 hours without running out of charge suddenly runs out in 6 hours with the usual frequency of use, remote access may be provided. If notifications are not received, accounts may be open on other devices. If the bank account and account transactions are not examined, money may be stolen from the account. In the cyber world, it is absolutely necessary to analyze the changes in routines well.”

translated and quoted from hurriyet newspaper


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