It has happened to almost everyone, including myself. The problem is, what do you do when it happens? Commonly people ask me things like, what does it mean, how does it happen, how do I know I got hacked? There are a lot of confusing things that go on when you get hacked. When it happens it can vary from being a small irritant to a large problem. I first want to talk about how to ensure you are alerted properly.
Making sure you find out first:
A common theme when your account has been compromised is that the hacker will send an email out to everyone in your online address book. These emails usually include a vague subject line and only a link in the body. Sometimes they will be phishing emails asking for money, it all depends on the situation. What you want to do is add yourself to your address book. When the hacker sends out the email, you will get one too. You can then deal with the situation more quickly and minimize damage. You can also add my email as a contact (email@example.com) and I will alert you if I see a suspicious email.
How to deal with it:
So now you know it happened, what now? Well the first thing you need to do is change your password. If you are locked out of your account, (which happens sometimes) I’ll go over that a little later. All email providers are different, so the directions to change your password vary. You can use help documentation or give me a call for assistance. The next thing you absolutely should do is inform your contacts. What I mean is to send a mass email to your entire address book explaining that your email was compromised and that they should not open the email or click on the link inside of it if they opened it. This will minimize the damage to your friends and family, and if done quickly should prevent them from getting a virus.
What if I can’t log in?:
Sometimes your password can be changed during this hacking process. If they manage to do so, you will have to do a couple things to get back into your account.
Now obviously the third option is the worst case scenario, but it is very common for people to not setup verification by cell phone or another email address. If this is every offered to you, please make sure you set this up. This is the easiest way to regain access to your account, and cannot be modified by the hacker. I’ve seen it take a long time to gain access back to accounts because the security questions were modified. This is a big deal because anyone that has access to your email has the potential to access any account that you use online.
Hopefully you found this information helpful. If I failed to cover something or you have more questions, call ,email, or comment below and I will respond as soon as I can. I hope you do not have to deal with this situation, but it is best to prepare for it and know how to deal with it if it does happen.