If it hasn’t happened to you, it has probably happened to somebody you know. There are several steps you can take to ensure that your email is not hacked and your valuable information is not shared with thieves.
If you have been email hacked, then there are several several steps to take. According to Suzanne Kantra, article writer for Techlicious, hackers are savvy and they have programs that can run through weak passwords at an extremely fast rate.
Suzanne offers important advice we should all be following …
“The very first thing you want to do is keep the hacker from getting back into your email account. So change your password, and be sure to use a strong password that is not related to your prior password. I.e., if your last password was ‘billyjoe1’, don’t pick ‘billyjoe2’. And if your name is BillyJoe, you shouldn’t have been using your name in your password in the first place.”
By Suzanne Kantra
Steps to Take If You Suspect You Were Email Hacked
Suzanne recommends following these steps if you suspect your e-mail was hacked.
1) The first thing you should do is change the password on your email account and make sure the new password is very strong. Most sites have a meter that will tell you the strength of your new password as you enter it.
2) While you are in your email profile changing your password, check your email settings to make sure the hackers did not change any of your settings. Specifically, check to make sure your incoming or outgoing emails are not being forwarded anyplace that you did not set up.
3) Also, check your automatic signature to ensure that it has not been set up to give your email recipients spammy information.
When you have completed these steps, Suzanne recommends that you check your computer for malware. Whether or not you have malware software on your computer, she recommends using Malwarebytes. This is free malware software that you can access online. According to Suzanne, this is one of the best malware detection programs available.
Scan the Computers Used to Access the Email Account
It is also recommended that you scan any other computers that you log into your email from. Also, scan any computers that you use to remote into your primary computer. If the anti-malware software picks up anything, clean it and then change your password again. This is necessary because the malware might have submitted your new password information to the hacker.
Remember, if your email was hacked there is a good chance that the hacker had the opportunity to obtain other valuable information that was stored on your computer.
Check all of your online accounts that use the same password as your email password. If you keep a list of account log in information and passwords anyplace online or on your computer, check each of these sites to be sure nothing was compromised.
Use a Different Password for Each Account
The biggest worry and threat is that the hacker obtained your financial and identification information.
Be sure to check your bank and credit cards. It also might be a good idea to have your credit report run over the next several months to make sure nothing strange comes up or that your identity wasn’t stolen.
It is imperative to use different strong passwords for each online log in you own to maintain security. This can feel overwhelming and difficult to track, but there are free password security programs available to help you keep track of everything.
Contact Your Contacts to Inform Them That You Were Hacked
Most of your friends probably figured out that you were hacked when they received a strange spammy email from you pointing them to some bizarre website in Indonesia. In fact, one of these friends probably contacted you to let you know that you were hacked.
However, you may have some friends that do not grasp what is going on. Thus, it is important to contact all of your contacts to warn them that you were hacked and to ask them to delete any email recently received from you without opening them. It is also a good idea for them to go through the steps listed above to make sure they were not hacked as well.
Protecting Yourself In The Future
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from being hacked in the future. Be sure to use and maintain strong passwords.
Use a unique password for each site you log in to. It is also a good idea to change your passwords often. Some internet security teams recommend changing passwords as frequently as once per month.
Others recommend a minimum of every six months. If you have given your password to a friend or family member to use your computer or email for something, it is important to change it after they have used it.
To maintain security even further, it is a better idea for you to log in for them and let them do what they need to do, then have them log out. This way, your password is never given out and never compromised.
It is also important to beware of using any type of public computer or unprotected wifi connection. Often times, public computers, such as those found in internet cafes, schools, libraries, and hotels are not secured at all.
Don’t Get Email Hacked …
Public computers are not safe …
Hackers can easily place software on these computers that allows them to track information that is being entered onto the computer. Thus, if you are at school and use a school computer to check your bank account, a hacker could easily get your account and password information for your bank account and have access to your money.
Only use these computers if it does not require you to log in to any of your online accounts to do so. These computers are useful for looking up public information or researching something, but nothing more. The same can be said for unsecured wifi. Beware of what you access and of what is being shared over the network. These public connections can allow others to access your information without you even being aware it is happening.
The bottom line is to be sure you are using safe surfing and account practices to protect yourself and your contacts.
There is nothing worse than having valuable information stolen. Remember, just like any other thieves, hackers are professional thieves and they support themselves by stealing information, money and identities. Don’t make yourself a victim because you think it cannot happen to you!
Have you ever been email hacked? How did it feel and what did you do about it? Leave a comment below and let other people know how serious it can be …