09.05.2013 in Home > Internet by Namit Gupta

What to Do if Your Email Gets Hacked: 5 Steps

Even when you take precautions that keep your email password safe, some hacker could get into your account. If your email gets hacked, follow these 5 steps to protect yourself and prevent further damage.

Step #1: Check Your Computer for Malware

email hacked

A hacker could have gotten your password with a type of malware that keeps a log of everything you type. If the malware is still on your computer, then changing your password won’t help. The spyware will just tell the hacker your new information.

First, you have to check your computer for viruses. Make sure your operating system is updated and that you have antivirus software that can detect the latest viruses.

Step #2: Change Your Password

Once you have removed malware, you can update your security information safely.

It’s best to choose a password that has no connection to your life. The more random the password is, the harder it is for a hacker to break in.

Also, make sure you use a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. Never use a word straight from the dictionary. Hackers have programs that can crack those passwords in minutes.

Step #3: Alert People on Your Contact List

Now that you have made yourself safe, you should alert the people on your contact list that they may have received malicious emails from your account.

Viruses often attempt to replicate themselves by sending copies to the people in an infected computer’s contact list. Most computer-savvy people can spot these emails. Some of the people on your contact list, however, might fall for the ruse.

Some hackers also use personalised emails that try to trick your friends into sending money or giving them information. The email might say that you’re in trouble, stranded in a foreign country without money, or that you have been injured and need help.

Alerting the people on your contact list will set their minds at ease and prevent them from falling for the trap.

Step #4: Learn to Recognize Fraudulent Emails

It’s important to learn how you can protect yourself from future attacks.

Many hackers use viruses that travel as attachments in spam emails. Knowing how to spot the difference between spam from hackers and legitimate email marketing from companies you trust is an important skill for all computer-users.

You can often spot spam because it:

  • Uses broken English
  • Promises quick returns on immediate investments
  • Uses manipulative language
  • Has amateurish designs, pictures, or wording

Step #5: Check Your Other Accounts

If one of your accounts has been compromised, the hacker might have passwords to your other accounts, too. Check your bank, credit card, and other accounts to make sure no one has accessed them.It’s best to change the passwords on all of your accounts. This will prevent patient hackers from taking advantage of you twice just by waiting a few weeks for you to put your guard down.

What is your biggest concern regarding email hackers? Do you know how to spot the signs that you’ve been hacked?