Unfortunately, email hacking is one of the most common instances of cybercrime these days and something that probably has affected all of us at one point or another. Fraudsters are becoming increasingly virulent in their ability to hack into your email.
This can create big issues for your computer while contaminated emails are being sent from your account to everyone on your contact list.
There are several ways to discover if your email account has been hacked. The most reliable method is someone contacting you and questioning you about an email they received from you that appears to be spam.
Following are steps you should take upon discovering that your email account has been compromised:
- Let Your Friends Know About the Compromise
Emails may have been sent appearing to be from you during the compromise. Let your friends know that the emails did not come from you and may contain malware (malicious software). Urge them to delete the emails during that time frame and not to click on any attachments or links in those emails.
- Don’t Delay
Once you recognize a problem, don’t hesitate a moment. The bad guys might be in the process of trying to deny you access to your account even as you are coming to understand the problem, so get to work quickly.
- Change Your Password
Immediately change your email account’s password.
- Notify Your Internet Service Provider
Your internet service provider will be able to help you through the process best, as email accounts have many settings you will need to check.
- Verify the Recovery Address
This is where your email provider sends your password reset information, and if the bad guy has changed this setting, they can request a password reset and immediately reclaim your account. Make sure that the recovery address is set to an email address you know and check.
- Change Your Password Hints
You might not think about this very often, but the hints can help someone guess your password. Review them and make sure they’re unique enough that only you know what they mean.
- Change Other Passwords
Don’t forget that once your email has been compromised, other accounts could be at risk if you use the same password for everything. That’s why you should use a unique password for all applications.
- Check Your Email Folders
Check folders such as spam, sent and deleted for messages that may have been sent from your account, but were not from you.
- Check Your Email Security Settings
Check all of your email account settings for suspicious forwarded addresses, delegated accounts, etc.
- Check All Financial Accounts
Check all financial accounts to ensure that no unauthorized transactions have occurred. If you see anything suspicious, notify the business immediately.
- Check Your Credit Report
Go to annualcreditreport.com and pick Experian, Transunion or Equifax and review your credit report. This is free annually for each credit bureau, so you can do this for free three times per year by picking a different company each time. Know what is in the report and how to read it so you will be able to spot when something is amiss.
- Check Your Computer
Have a computer professional check out your computer. At the least, be sure your firewall is turned on, you have your security updates set to automatic and you have up-to-date anti-virus software.
About the Author
Margo Leiter, CISM
Margo Leiter is a resident DeSoto County, where she began her banking career in 1981 at Crews Bank & Trust, formerly First State Bank of Arcadia. In 2008, she took on the role of the Chief Information Security Officer for Crews Bank & Trust. She subsequently became a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), overseeing management of the company’s Information Security Program to ensure sensitive customer information is safe and secure. In her personal life she enjoys shopping, traveling with her husband, and spending quality time with her children, grandchildren and church family.