Email accounts get hacked every time. The hackers use your account to send mails to your friends soliciting for cash or for some other sinister purpose like blackmail. While this is going on, you may never know until friends who receive the mail let you know that they have received your request for cash-According To Punch News
Before it gets to that bad point, here is how to recognize a hacked email:
- Your account information has changed without your knowledge.
- There are logins from locations you don’t recognize on your recent activity page.
- You aren’t receiving expected emails.
- Your Yahoo Mail account is sending spam messages.
Immediate steps to take
- Change your password
The very first thing you should do is to keep the hacker from getting back into your email account. Change your password to a strong one that is not related to your prior password; if your last password was billyjoe1, don’t pick billyjoe2; and if your name is actually BillyJoe, you shouldn’t have been using your name as your password in the first place.
Try using a meaningful sentence as the basis of your new password. For example, “I go to the gym in the morning” turns into “Ig2tGYMitm,” using the first letter of each word in the sentence, mixing uppercase and lowercase letters and replacing the word “to” with “2.”
- Reclaim your account
If you’re unlucky to have the hacker changing your password, locking you out of your account in addition to sending mass emails to your contacts, you’ll need to reclaim your account. This is done by using the “forgot your password” link and answering your security questions or using your backup email address.
Find out the specific recommendations for reclaiming possession of your account for Gmail, Outlook.com, Hotmail, Yahoo! and AOL.
- Enable two-factor authentication
Set your email account to require a second form of authentication in addition to your password whenever you log into your email account from a new device. When you log in, you’ll also need to enter a special one-time use code the site will text to your phone or generated via an app.
Check out two-step authentication setup instructions for Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook.com, Hotmail and Yahoo! According to www.techlicious.com, AOL doesn’t support two-factor authentication yet.
- Check your email settings
Sometimes hackers may change your settings to forward a copy of every email you receive to themselves, so they can watch for any emails containing login information for other sites. Check your mail forwarding settings to ensure no unexpected email addresses have been added.
Next, check your email signature to see if the hacker added a spam signature that will continue to send out their scam mails even after they’ve been locked out.
Lastly, check to make sure the hackers haven’t turned on an auto-res-ponder that will keep sending spam responses to your incoming mails.
- Scan your computer for malware
Run a full scan with your anti-malware programme. If you don’t have an anti-malware programme on your computer, download the free version of Malwarebytes and run a full scan with it. It is recommended that you run Malwarebytes even if you already have another anti-malware programme; if the problem is malware, your original programme obviously didn’t stop it. Scan other computers you log in from, such as your work computer, as well.
If any of your scans detect malware, fix it and then go back and change your email password again (because when you changed it in step 1, the malware was still on your computer).
- Find out what else has been compromised
Most people make the mistake of storing usernames and passwords for various accounts in an email folder. If this happens and the hacker gets into one mail, they will easily discover numerous other logins.
If you have emails buried somewhere that contain this type of information, search for the word “password” in your mailbox to figure out what other accounts might have been compromised. Change these passwords immediately; if they include critical accounts such as bank or credit card accounts, check your statements to make sure there are no suspicious transactions.
It’s also a good idea to change any other accounts that use the same username and password as your compromised email. Spammers are savvy enough to know that most people reuse passwords for multiple accounts, so they may try your login info in other email applications as well as on PayPal and other common sites.
- Notify your contacts
Let people on your contact list know that your email was hacked and that they should not open any suspicious emails or click on any links in any email(s) they recently received from you.
- Prevent it from happening again
While large-scale breaches are one way your login information could be stolen, they’re certainly not the only way. Many cases are due to careless creation or protection of login information.
Google released a study that reveals that most people choose passwords based on readily available information, making their accounts hackable with a few educated guesses. Easy passwords make for easy hacking, and spammers use programmes that can cycle through thousands of logins a second to identify weak accounts.
Picking a strong password is your best protection from this type of hacking. It is also prudent to use a different password for each site or account, or, at the very least, use a unique password for your email account, your bank account and any other sensitive accounts.
Be careful while using computers in hotel lobbies to check your email. Computers in hotel lobbies, libraries and other public places are perfect locations for hackers to install key-logging programmes.
The computers are often poorly secured and get used by dozens of people every day who don’t think twice about logging into their email or bank accounts or entering credit card information to make a purchase.