If your email was hacked recently, then you know what a pain and invasion of privacy it is. Unfortunately, the hacking probably came to your attention when an old friend or, worse, an employer emailed you saying, "I got a weird email from you, I think your email was hacked…"
To define, email hacking is when an email account is accessed or manipulated by another person, party or robot without the account owner's authorization. An email can be hacked with by way of a virus, malware or phishing scam. Consequences of such a hack can range from stolen accounts, to financial loss, all the way to identity theft.
If your email was hacked, it is imperative that you take swift action. Kelly Karnetsky of Frontier IT recommends you do the following as soon as possible:
- Update your anti-virus
Before you rush to change your password, it is probably a good idea to update your anti-virus and firewall first. If you don't, your newly-set password can potentially be cracked in the same manner as your previous one. When updating your anti-virus, make sure to check the box for automatic updates, so that it can block new threats and apply new security patches as they become available.
- Change the password
Now you are in the clear to change your password. It is recommended to use a unique random one, not the name of a family member or pet or anything else that may be easily guessed. It should contain letters both capital and lowercase, numbers, and special characters. You can also use a password manager, which helps generate complex passwords and store them in a protected database. It used to be believed that you have to frequently change your password, but that isn't the case these days (can even make it worse at times). Better precaution is the use of a strong, random, and unique password with a password manager. Your IT professional can help you set this up.
- Contact your IT professional
The next step, if you haven't already, is to contact your IT professional. Though updating your antivirus and password are great steps, there may be some other issues that need resolution. The IT specialist will check to make sure there are no mail services blocking your email, see if there is any domain on blacklists, and more.
- Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is when two pieces of proof need to be provided in order to enter your account. To access, you will not only need to enter your password but a code as well that is sent to your phone, for example. This feature can be set for every single login, or simply those from new, unrecognized devices.
- Send email to your contacts
Next, as a courtesy and protective measure, it is a good idea to send an email to all your contacts to alert them that your account has been hacked. Tell them not to open or click any links or attachments in the email, as they may contain viruses.
- Change the compromised password on all accounts
It is essential to change the compromised password on all of your accounts. If your password was cracked for your email, it is possible that it was cracked for other sites as well, like Amazon, Facebook, and more. You definitely do not want a hacker having a holiday shopping spree with your two-day free shipping!
Was your email hacked or want to learn how to better protect your sensitive data? Contact the IT professionals at Frontier IT in Colorado Springs by calling 719-888-HELP or visiting FrontierIT.com.