What You Can Do If Your Email Is Hacked
It seems that these days there is no shortage of news reports detailing some new threat to our internet security. Viruses, hackers and scams seem more prevalent than ever. Of these threats, email hacking remains one of the most prevalent and insidious. It can be very alarming to log on to your computer only to find one of your most personal forms of communication violated. But there are steps you can take to recover yourself and re-establish your security.
Firstly, if you are still able to log in to your email account, change the password immediately. Make your new password as strong as possible. This means avoiding any common or easily discovered information, such as your address or spouse's name. It is wise to avoid using this information in the new password.
If you find that you are not able to access your email to change the password, it is still possible to recapture your account. You can do this by checking the help function on your email site and following their step-by-step directions for reclaiming your account. This will normally involve you answering certain security questions that you had set up at the time the email account was activated. You may also be sent a link or a temporary password to a secondary email that is still secure. Once you have recaptured your account, you can then reset your password as indicated above. You should also select new security questions and answers.
Your email provider will want to keep records of any incidents of hacking, so it is a good idea to let them know what has happened. You may feel that there is little that can be done after the fact, but your account provider may be able to give you important and useful information to avoid anything like this happening again.
While you are notifying your email provider, there are other people you may want to consider notifying as well. Let your friends and family know what has happened, in case they have received any odd messages that were clearly not from you. Normally, when people on your contacts list receive unusual emails from your account, it is a good early indication that you have been hacked. Some victims have even reported that their email account was used to solicit help or funds from people in their contacts, which can be very upsetting when they find out the message was not actually from you!
In addition to your friends and family, you may also want to notify your banking institution as well. The hackers may try to use your email account to send banking instructions to your bank or even try to reset your online banking passwords. Alerting your bank can keep them on their guard from suspicions communications and requests.
Even after notifying your financial institution, you should remain vigilant. Once an email hack happens, it is often difficult to know right away the extent of the damage. The hacker may have accessed information such as your social security number or credit information. Therefore, it is normally a good idea to monitor your banking activity for any suspicious transactions.
The best way to do this is to obtain a free copy of your credit reports.
If you do not already have a current antivirus program on your computer, you should install one and check for updates as soon as possible. A reliable antivirus program will scan your computer for any malicious threats, such as spyware, malware or trojans. These are harmful because they can be inserted into your system by hackers to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and other personal data. Once the hackers have this information, they virtually have a passport into your personal life.
Having your email hacked is a serious and upsetting situation. However, by taking these steps, you can greatly reduce the potential damage of a hacker attack and reclaim your privacy.
- Globalie Blog Team