Email is one of the most vital forms of communication. There are 4.03 billion people around the world that use email for multiple purposes. It can be used for personal reasons, while businesses use email for their marketing strategies. Whatever reason it may be, email is crucial to everyone.
Our email account is proof of our identity. It includes content that is personal, like banking details, social security, and so on. That’s why hackers are keen on targeting emails due to their personal nature.
When accounts get hacked, it is time-sensitive. You need to act fast to minimize the damage that the attacker commits.
But how will you know if your account has been hacked? And what should be done to protect your account?
Signs Your Account Has Been Hacked
You’ve Been Locked Out from Your Account
Once hackers have access to your account, they lock the user out of their account by changing the password. When you try to sign in but can’t access it, someone might have changed your password.
You can check further by trying the password recovery process. If it doesn’t work, you can receive your password recovery on your recovery account. If not, hackers might have rerouted it to another.
Presence of Strange Emails on Sent Folder
Sometimes hackers don’t lock their victims out of their accounts. They work discreetly. They work by sending suspicious emails to your contacts. In this way, they can add more targets to their list.
You can check your sent folder and see if there are strange emails.
Sometimes, you can receive messages from people you know asking you about an email you have sent. If people are asking you about it, check your sent folder.
Odd emails sent to your contacts can be an indicator your email has been hacked.
The emails received by your contacts are often phishing emails. It asks for personal information by requesting the user to login into a spoofed website.
Although, there are times that hackers leave no traces of evidence behind. You’ll not be able to see sent emails in your folder. However, your contacts ask you about it.
Receiving a Password Change Request
Watch out for emails seeking a password reset that you do not recall sending. An attacker may be looking for information about your bank, shopping sites, and other services. Be wary of emails or phone calls pretending to be from your bank and requesting further information, such as PIN codes or passwords. Never click on them.
Unusual Logins from Different Browsers, IP Addresses, and Devices
Most email providers allow you to monitor your login activities, and you can check on IP addresses or regions that can have logged in to your account. Furthermore, you can see the browser or device that logged into your account.
If you have discovered unusual logins on mobile devices you don’t own or locations you haven’t been to, you have to be wary of it.
If this happens, respond quickly as possible to prevent further damage.
When you have noticed these signs on your email account, do not panic. Instead, immediately follow these guidelines to prevent hackers from causing more harm
What To Do If Your Account Has Been Hacked?
Change Your Password
If you can access your account, the first thing is to change your password to prevent the hacker from returning. But take note that the password you’ll use should be complex, one that’s difficult to decipher.
Some notes when creating a password:
- Use a combination of upper and lower cases, symbols, and numbers
- Never recycle old passwords
- Don’t use personal information or words in the dictionary
However, if you can’t access your account, contact your email provider’s customer service.
Check Your Recovery Email Address
Some hackers change the recovery email address and phone number of email accounts. So when there are changes on the account, they’ll have knowledge about it.
To prevent this, make sure you check on the recovery email address and phone number. Change it whenever you see accounts you don’t recognize.
Activate Two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication or 2FA is an additional layer of security you can implement into your account. The 2FA can either be a code you receive via email or text or a biometric measure.
If you have discovered your account has been hacked, immediately alert your contacts. You can inform them personally or send them a message.
Tell your contacts not to open any email sent via your email address that requests to click on a link or download a file.
Install an Antivirus Software
Using an antivirus software program can help prevent hackers from gaining access to your devices and accounts. Some antivirus software like internet security can scan emails and block spam.
Set a deep scan schedule for your account to make sure that every detail or part of your computer has been scanned. Make sure you choose the best-paid security software for better security.
Free antivirus cannot scan devices well as compared to a paid version.
Check for Account Forwarding and Auto-replies
Also, make sure your inbox doesn’t have any auto-forwarding or auto-replies activated that you didn’t put up yourself. Attackers may use these tools to obtain copies of emails sent to you.
They can even send spam to your contacts automatically.
Update Your Device and Software
Hackers can gain access to your account by using outdated software or systems. They can find issues with the code of the software and try to use it as their gateway to deploy malicious codes.
You can update your software, drivers, and systems individually. But that can be time-consuming. There are tools that can detect outdated software on your device and update them. AVG Driver Updater is one of the most affordable tools you can use to scan for outdated software on your device.
You can check out our online shop to purchase one for your computer.
Create New Account
If you can’t access your account at all or your account has been hacked before, it could be time to change your account.
Choose an email service that encrypts your emails by default. So that, if the provider’s servers are hacked, data encryption keeps your private emails safe. Without the correct security key, hackers will be unable to access this information.
If you’re looking for a new email provider, another thing to check for is high-rated customer support. In the event of a problem, they should be able to work with you to remedy it quickly.
Report Attack to Email Provider
After recovering your account from the hack, report it to your email provider. Even if you didn’t lose access because of your compromised email, this is crucial.
It helps email providers to track scams and improve their security level for you and other users. Also, they can trace the attack and find out where it originated so you can avoid such activity in the future.
Change Security Questions
You can reduce a hacker’s chances of breaking into our account again by giving bogus answers to security questions. Make sure they’re memorable to you. Also, do not make it easily discoverable on your social media accounts.
Ask for Professional Help
If you cannot fix the issue or give up your email account, it is best to seek help. Professionals can find a solution to fix cyber threats. However, you need to take note that seeking professional help can cost some money. Also, it can take time for professionals to get rid of the damage if it is complex.
Email is vital to everyone. It is where we link our bank account, social security, and so on. Businesses use email to promote their brand and contact customers. Also, we communicate with our family and friends via email.
The importance of it makes it the reason why hackers keep on attacking it. Proper security and knowledge on how to protect your accounts can help you prevent such attacks.
Learn the signs of hacked accounts to respond to threats immediately and avoid further damages.