What Do I Do When My Email Has Been Hacked?
Posted by Uvaraj N. on 02 September 2020 12:00 PM
Spammers use a variety of methods to send spam, but the use of hacked legitimate user’s email accounts is booming.
How was my email hacked?
Your computer was most likely compromised in one of four ways:
What to do after your email was hacked
When your email account is hacked, here are several steps you need to take to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again:
Check (and update) your computer’s security. Most hackers collect passwords using malware that has been installed on your computer (or mobile phone if you have a smartphone). No matter which operating system you use, be sure your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are up to date. Choose the setting that will automatically update your computer when new security fixes are available. If you’re already using an antivirus program, run an end-to-end scan of your computer.
Look to see that all operating system updates are also installed. To find these, type ’(the name of your operating system) and updates’ into your search engine. Set your computer to update automatically so that you get protection from new attacks as soon as possible.
Change your password and make it stronger. Do this after your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are updated or the hackers may collect your new password as well.
Send an email to your contacts saying you were hacked. When an email comes from someone you know you are more likely to open it and click on links within it - even if the subject is weird. Help stop the spread of the malware by warning those in your contact list to be cautious of any email sent by you that doesn’t seem right and to not click on the links.
Smarten up about spam, phishing, and scams. Spam comes at us from all angles; in the mailbox in front of your home (junk mail) in your email inbox, via IM, social networking sites, chats, forums, websites, and sadly, now also on your phone. Now more than ever, it is important to be on the lookout for phishing scams.
Validate the legitimacy of any program, game, app, or video before downloading it. Of the millions of new or updated mobile apps analyzed in 2017, 32% were determined to be malicious in nature. If the content is pirated, free, or comes to you anonymously, assume it has malware. Only download content that you have read good reviews about from sites you can trust.
Change your security question(s). If your email account was hacked from a device or location not matching your normal usage patterns, it's possible the cybercriminal needed to correctly answer a security question. If your question and answer are common (Question: What is your dog's name? Answer: Spot), that may not have been a difficult challenge.
Consider adopting two-factor authentication. Many email providers offer two-factor authentication (2FA) as an additional security measure. This method requires both a password and some other form of identification, such as a biometric or a mobile phone number, to access an account.
As mentioned, it's fairly common for malware to be the avenue through which an email account is hacked. Having an up-to-date internet security solution is the essential first step in establishing online safety and ensuring your email isn't hacked.