So many large scale hacks involve the loss of email addresses and passwords. This sort of information is like gold dust for fraudsters who can use it to do all sorts of things to defraud victims.
Here are some indicators suggesting you email may have been hacked:
- One of the most obvious signs of your email being hacked is discovering you cannot sign in to your account because the password has been changed. If a hacker accesses your account, he is able to change your password to prevent you from logging in and retaking control.
- Some hackers won’t change your password so you won’t notice that anything’s wrong. If there are messages in your sent mail folder that you didn’t send you can be confident someone has access to your account.
- Watch out for password reset emails that you have not instigated. The hacker may have tried to change your password on other sites, using access to your email to perform password resets.
If any of the above apply to you then there are several steps that can be taken to nullify any potential damage:
Run a deep scan of your antivirus to identify and eliminate all types of malware such as spyware and key loggers that could be tracking your keystrokes. Hackers are looking for ways to scam you out of money. Some will try and plant malware onto your computer via your email account to achieve this.
If you've lost access to your account, you may need to contact the email provider directly, prove who you are and ask for a password reset. Choose a new password that is very different from your old one.
Don’t use passwords that are tied to your name, birthday or similar as hackers can easily find this information.Your password should be unique for each account and contain a mix of letters, numbers and keyboard characters.
Contact online services you use
Change your passwords with payment-based accounts such as Netflix and credit card companies to prevent hackers from compromising these accounts.
It’s a good idea to tell your friends, family and anyone else on your email contact list that you've been hacked. When attackers have control of your account, they can send hundreds of malware-laden emails to everyone you know. Warning your contacts lets them take steps to ensure their own devices are clean and unaffected.
Use multi-factor authentication
To protect your email use the multi-factor authentication that many email providers provide to gain access to your password, including using secondary email addresses or text messages.
If you haven't done so, contact your email provider and report the hack. This is important even if your hacked email didn't cause you to lose access since it helps providers track scam-based behaviour.
Create a new email account
If this isn't the first time a hacked email has been a problem it might be time to switch. Look for an email service that offers default encryption of your emails and customer service in the event of an issue.
Hackers' reach is often much greater than a simple email hack indicates, so it's a good idea to reach out and ask credit reporting agencies like Equifax to monitor your accounts in the months after you've been hacked.
Run an antivirus scan on all connected devices, including your laptop, tablet and smartphone. It's essential to upgrade basic antivirus protection to full-time Internet security protection
that proactively blocks new, unknown threats and actively safeguards your actions online rather than trying to scrub your computer clean after the fact.