Securing our financial accounts is of utmost importance. Yet, many of the precautions we take to make sure hackers can’t find their way in won’t amount to a hill of beans if we don’t also secure our email accounts.
“Sign up with any service online, and it will almost certainly require you to supply an email address,” writes Brian Krebs, an investigative reporter and brains behind the well-known KrebsOnSecurity blog. “In nearly all cases, the person who is in control of that address can reset the password of any associated services or accounts – merely by requesting a password reset email.”
It’s therefore extremely important that you protect your email from getting hacked. If your email does fall victim, it’s critical that you identify the hack quickly and take swift corrective action. Read on to find out how.
How to prevent a hack
Safeguard your email from being hacked by taking these steps:
- Use a strong, unique password.
- Set up two-factor authentication.
- Don’t click on links or open attachments in emails from people you don’t know.
- Download free software only from sites you know and trust.
- Always log-out of your account if you’re accessing on a public computer.
Signs of a hacked email
If you experience any of the following situations, there’s a good chance your email has been hacked:
- You are unable to log into your email account.
- Your family and friends are getting emails from you that you didn’t send.
- Your sent folder has messages you did not send.
- There are posts on your social media accounts that you didn’t make.
- Your email signature has links that were not there before.
You’ve been hacked. Now what?
Once you’ve identified that your email has been hacked, take the following actions to rectify the situation and prevent further damage:
- Change your email password.
- Update your computer’s security software and run a scan.
- Contact your email provider to inform them of the hack; they will be able to assist further with account recovery.
- Check your account settings for anything suspicious, such as unfamiliar links in your email signature.
- Let your friends know your email was hacked so they don’t take action on any of the malicious emails they may have received from you.
For more information on preventing, detecting and responding to a hacked email account watch this video from the FTC.