Having your email hacked, whether it’s a personal or commercial account, is a terrifying prospect. Hackers may easily acquire access to everything you’ve supplied – such as passwords, account numbers, or bank information – and they can even use your account to deliver viruses to other computers, which they can then breach.
In this three-part series, we’ll go through how to tell if you’ve been hacked, how to notify the hackers and get them out of your accounts, and how to avoid being attacked in the future. Why am I writing this article? Recently, my company and I faced a phishing attack and we have faced some serious issues. From that almost life-threatening experience, I am sharing the process, findings, and lessons.
- To begin, how can you know whether your email has been compromised? If someone in your contacts notifies you that they received an unusual email from you, this is a good first clue. Request that they provide you with a snapshot of it. You’ve been hacked if you don’t realize it.
- Let’s conduct some investigating. Have you changed your password but don’t remember doing so? This is an issue. The first thing a hacker would usually do is change your passwords and contact email so you can’t access your account again.
- Open your email client and go through your messages. Check the read/unread status to see whether any messages have been read that you do not recall reading. Examine the sent folder to check if there is anything there that you did not send. Deleted emails can also provide information. Check to see whether you sent any password reset request emails to other websites that you don’t recall sending. The hacker might be attempting to get access to your other accounts.
- If you receive any further odd emails from your bank or other formal entity, it might be a hacker attempting to trick you into disclosing more personal information. Before reacting, call your bank and inquire about the message.
- You may also view your account’s recent activity (if you use a provider such as Yahoo!, Google, or Microsoft). They will keep track of who has accessed your email, including the date, the user’s operating system, the type of mobile device, and the Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you notice unfamiliar data on there, it might be the result of outside hacking.
- A third-party website can also do a final check to determine whether or not your email has been hacked. Have I Been Pwned? will notify you (for free) if your email has been compromised as a result of a data breach. But don’t be too concerned straight away. Examine the dates – it might be reporting a previous breach for which you’ve already reset your password.
- If you don’t see any odd information on these sites but still suspect you’ve been hacked, it might be an inside job. If the hacking isn’t being done via an outside computer, then someone is directly login into your computer to hack it. This may be someone at your house or business, or it could be someone in a public area where you may have left your computer unattended. When you move away from your computer, always log out, and don’t forget to log out if you leave the room.
If you see any of these indicators, your email has most certainly been hacked. Depending on the intensity of the assault, you may be able to get rid of the hackers and clean up your accounts in a matter of days.
Stay tuned for the next parts of this series, in which I’ll talk about how to report the hackers and how to get your accounts back up and running.