14 July 2017

Email Security: What to Do If Your Account Gets Hacked

The value of a secure email account will be vouched for by anyone who has ever had their account hacked. Aside from being extremely inconvenient, having an account hacked is potentially dangerous.

You may not realise it, but a lot of personal information is stored in your email inbox – a fact that makes your inbox very enticing to hackers.

Of course, the best way to avoid this information being stolen is through a secure mail server and some top-notch email security. But, if you don’t have asecure email account and have found yourself a victim of hacking, here’s what you need to do:

1. Change Your Password

This is your first step, and you need to do it quickly to block the hacker from accessing your account again. Choose a secure password that has absolutely nothing to do with the original password that was stolen.

If the hacker changed your password while in your account, you’ll need to reclaim the account. There are various steps particular to each email provider when it comes to reclaiming accounts, but these steps should be easy to discover and follow.

2. Scan for Malware

The hack may have been for the purpose of installing malware, which could retrieve sensitive information off your computer. Make sure that you avoid this scenario by scanning for malware immediately.

3. Increase Your Security

Your email provider may have asked you to provide a secondary method of access, such as your mobile phone number. Now is a good time to enable this.

4. Check Your Settings

Check that the hacker hasn’t:

  • Enabled all of your incoming messages to be forwarded to his or her account
  • Engaged your auto-responder to send spam to all of your contacts
  • Enabled an email signature that advertises dubious products with each email you send

5. Check All Your Logins

Your email account might store login details for many other accounts. Run a search for words like ‘passwords’ and see if the hacker would have been able to find such information. If so, check your other accounts and possibly change their passwords as well.

6. Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again

Start looking into secure mail options, and get one as soon as possible. As mentioned, hackers see email accounts as digital goldmines, so escaping one scenario relatively unscathed doesn’t mean that you’re safe from recurring issues.