Mostly, you come to know about your email being hacked the hard way when your friends inform you about it, by which point most of your friends, coworkers and family members have received the link to “an amazing video” that they “have to watch right now!” from your email address.
It’s not only apocalyptic but embarrassing as well. So, if you are one of those unlucky people, stop panicking and follow these simple steps to get hold of your account again. We recommend you to follow this guide ASAP!
- Reclaim Your Account
First of all, try to sign in your account using the same login information that you have set. If you are able to login, please move on to the next step.
If you are unable to login, it is likely that the hacker has changed your credentials. So use the ‘forgot password’ option to reset the password of your email account. You will have to follow the steps for verification of your account and then reset your password.
- Change Your Password
Once you have successfully reclaimed your account, the first thing you should do is change your password. Please choose a long and strong password, which is extremely difficult to guess or break. Make sure that you have different passwords for all of your accounts and any of those passwords are not saved on your email account.
If these passwords are saved on your email account for your convenience, then you must think about changing all the other passwords as well. Even if your passwords are not saved on your email account, it is wise to change passwords for all the accounts linked with the compromised email account.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Only changing your password for the email account is not good enough. The best thing for you and everyone else is to enable two-factor authentication on your email account.
Two-factor authentication is more secure than only using a password, even if you have set the strongest password in the world. To enable two-factor on your email account or to know more about it, click on the email service you use: AOL, Gmail, Yahoo!, and Outlook.com & Hotmail.
- Thoroughly Check Your Settings
Now that you have completed the most important steps, it is time for inspection. Go to the settings of your email and thoroughly check if the hacker has made any changes to it. It is possible that the hacker has made some changes that will allow your email account to forward all the emails to their account. This way, he or she can get their hands on any of your sensitive data.
In addition, check your email signature as well, because it is also possible that the hacker has added any phishing or spammy link in your signature. Also make sure that auto-responder is not turned on by the hacker.
- Scan Your Computer
Next, scan your computer or laptop for any malware. It is best for you to use a reputed anti-malware program and it is even better if you have premium version. If you don’t have any anti-malware program, then download a free version of any well-known program and scan your whole computer for any viruses or malware.
P.S. If any malware has been detected, then you need to fix your computer and change your email password again!
- Analyze The Damage
You must have already changed passwords for other accounts that are associated with your compromised email address. Now check your inbox, if the hacker has attempted to reset the password for your social media accounts or any other services that you use. If yes, then quickly check if the hacker has accessed that service or social media account to damage your reputation.
Also check your outbox to see how many infected emails have been sent from your account. It is possible that the hacker might have emptied your inbox and sent items, so also check the deleted section.
- Let Your Friends And Family Know
Lastly, draft an email to inform your friends, coworkers, and family members about the hack and apologize if any damage has been done using your email address. It might be embarrassing if the hacker has used any inappropriate product, video, website, or language, but it is the right thing to do!
Now that you have gone through the misery and also secured your email account, please always do keep these important things in mind:
- Set stronger passwords
- Ignore phishing or scam emails
- Never click on suspicious links, even if they are sent by your friends/coworkers/family members
- Avoid using open Wi-Fi hotspots or use them with PureVPN connected
- Always use two-factor authentication
These are a few tips that can help you keep hackers at bay. We hope that this guide helps you now and later on to thwart any hacking attempts. But still, if you ever get your email account compromised, you need to stay calm and follow this guide again. Stay safe!