What should I do if I’ve been hacked?

Reset your passwords

Your account and account details are what most hackers want. If you are unable to log into your account, try resetting your password, if that does not work or the e-mail associated with the account no longer works look for an account recovery option, which requires you to answer some questions regarding the account such as your mother’s maiden name. If all options fail to reset the account you must contact the company to have them intervene.

When changing your password keep the considerations below in mind:

  • A password should never be an easy to guess word. Passwords like 1234, password, etc. are easy to guess.
  • Don’t use passwords that you’ve used in the past.
  • Passwords should have letters, numbers, spaces, and other characters.

Note: If you are using the same password for other accounts (which is not advised) make sure to also change your other account passwords to a different password. Once a hacker determines your username and password that information is stored and often shared and can be used to compromise other accounts.

Tip: If you have a difficult time remembering all your passwords use a password manager as a place to store them safely.

Check your machine

If the company your accounts are hosted by did not notice or mention a security breach, it’s possible you or your machine have been the source of the attack. Make sure to scan your computer for any spyware and malware that may be stealing your account details or logging your keystrokes.

Tip: If scans your find malware on your computer you may want to reset your account passwords again, as infections may have logged your new password.

Verify account details

After all of your passwords have been changed, if your accounts have any shipping information make sure the shipping information is still your address.

If the account authorizes any third-party programs or apps (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) make sure no third-party apps have rights to your accounts that you haven’t given permission. Best advice is to delete any app you’re unfamiliar with.

Let your other contacts know about the hack

If your e-mail account or any account with contacts has been hacked make sure to let all of your contacts know about the hack. To help gain access to more accounts, hackers may send malware or try attacking any other accounts affiliated with yours since your contacts may not be as suspicious of e-mails coming from people they know.

Verify past posts

If your social network (e.g. Google+, Twitter, or Facebook) has been hacked make sure there are no posts or messages that have been made on your behalf. Usually social network accounts are hacked to help spread spam, malware, and advertisements on your behalf.

New accounts setup

If a hacker gains access to your e-mail, they often use your e-mail address as a way to setup new accounts. Check your inbox, sent items, and trash for any new account notifications using your e-mail address. If new accounts have been created you can try logging into those accounts by using the reset password feature and then delete the account.

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