“Help, My Email Account Got Hacked!”

If there is one thing that is certain in the world of IT security, it’s that you can never take security for granted. Even if you do everything in your power to keep your data secure, you open yourself to risk just by taking advantage of free email services, using social networking sites, or even hosting a website with one of the large and cheap shared web hosting providers.

In today’s world, anyone can end up as the victim of a security breach. And while we hope this never happens to you, we’ve prepared a short guide to help you sort things out if it does happen. Note that in this guide we will assume that it was your personal email account that was compromised, but the principles outlined here apply to any situation where you’ve been hacked.

Step 1: Change Your Passwords

The first thing you should do if your account is hacked is to change your password. Make sure that the new password is not obvious, and that it contains both letters and numbers. Special characters are great too. The more random the password is, the better. Once you change your password, you should also change any security questions and alter any secondary methods for accessing the account.

Step 2: Verify That All Your Important Accounts Are Secure

Once you have changed your password on the email account, you should check that all important accounts tied to your email are okay, such as your financial accounts. Consider changing passwords and secondary access methods for these accounts. You may also want to get credit monitoring if you think your financial accounts and personal information could be at risk. Credit monitoring is relatively inexpensive and can prevent huge problems with your finances.

Step 3: Find out How the Hackers Got In

Finally, if possible you want to learn how the attackers gained access to your account. You should start by checking your sent emails to see if there are traces of the hack. For instance, the hacker may have sent out phishing emails from your account. Keep in mind that if you don’t see anything, the traces may have been deleted. If you do find anything, consider alerting your address book about the problem and the fact that you are addressing it. Also, record what you find as it may provide information about who the hackers were, which will help you understand what happened.

There are several methods used to detect the source of intrusions. Since some malware programs send password information to attackers, you should run anti-malware software on your devices. If you find any, either eliminate the malware or reformat your device. Next, check with your email provider to see if they have been compromised. If your email portal has access logs, check for any sessions from unrecognized IP addresses or computers. Also, watch out if you were using an identical password on another site, as the attack might have originated in that site and not in your email account.

CPURX: Providing Peace of Mind and Helping You Stay Secure

Needless to say, both staying secure, and recovering from a security compromise, present challenges to ordinary users and businesses. That’s why at CPURX, we work with our partners to help them maintain top notch security, and also provide all types of security consultation services. We also help businesses plan for and survive contingencies with our disaster recovery programs. If you are interested in our security and data recovery services, please drop us a line and let us help you stay safe and secure.

About Jason Volmut