Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Top 5 Things to Do after Your Email Account is Hacked

Email account theft is rising. Fortunately, there are different techniques that might be helpful for you if they are followed immediately.

Email theft means someone has unauthorized gained access to your email account without your consent. In most cases, the hacker sends a spam link to your contacts requesting them to click. It could be a malicious link intended to trace confidential data, hack their accounts or steal money through credit & debit cards, PayPal or other money transfer services. When an email account is hacked, the hacker generally gets access to the websites where that email id is used for log-in purposes. For him it’s quite easy to recover the data of associated websites and services- including social media websites, domains, money transfer services, forums, and so on.

It is important to understand that recovery information, such as security answers, is sometimes changed, sometimes not. Sometimes traces are left, for example, sent emails. Sometimes everything on the email account is removed. It depends. However, in most cases your contacts would get emails from you that you actually didn’t sent them at all.

So far we discussed what could happen with your account if it is hacked. Now let’s discuss the top 5 things that you can do after your email account is hacked.

Tip 1: Use the Recovery Information to Gain Access to the Account
The recovery information consists of security answer, secondary email id, backup phone, password hint, and so on. Try all these options one by one until you find a way to recover your stolen account.
You can find links something like “I forgot my password”, “Can’t sign in? Need help?” or “Having trouble signing in?” Follow the on-screen instructions. You may find different alternative ways mentioned above.

Tip 2: Change the Password after Gaining Access to your Hacked Account
Once you gain access to your hacked account, immediately change its password. Make sure the password strength is strong. Be sure to use special characters (@, $, !, &, %, #), numbers, combination of capital & small cases, and so on. Do not use common and easy to identify words (apple, keyboard, computer, for example).

Tip 3: Change the Secondary Account, Backup Phone & Password Hints
Now it’s time to change your secondary email account, backup phone and password hint. I always recommend setting a secondary email account which is either a premium email account that you own, or hosted on your own domain. The former will come up with additional security measures, real-time support from the company; and the latter will help quickly gaining access even if everything ends in frustration, as you can use the CPanel password resetting feature or make a phone call to your domain holding company.

Tip 4: Inform your Contacts once you’ve Recovered your Account
It’s good to inform your contacts that your email account was hacked, and if in case they receive any suspicious emails not to click any link. Some may disagree with me on this, but in particular, your contacts will know they should not pay attention to any suspicious emails sent from your account.

Tip 5: Backup your Emails & Contacts
In some cases, the hacker erases everything that he finds in your email account, say contacts, emails (inbox, sent emails & trashes). You may miss important business emails or clients data. Thus I recommend you to backup your emails, contacts list on a particular schedule.

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