My Account May Have Been Hacked—What To Do Now?
Hackers roam around the internet, looking for back-doors or vulnerable apps or plug-ins that are outdated. They find these gateways for them to lurk into a website or an account, and gain the information they need to use.
Nobody is safe from these cyber criminals, whether you are popular or just a normal person. It doesn’t matter if you run a successful large corporation or a small business online. All data is important for these hackers.
When you experience being a victim of this crime, you feel like nothing is safe to protect your privacy. But you don’t have to worry. There are ways and software you can use to keep your privacy safe and to not experience falling for this attack again.
Before knowing what to do, here are some signs you have to look into for you to know if your account has been hacked or not.
SIGNS YOU’VE BEEN HACKED
Having your account been hacked is one thing no one wants to experience. Accounts like email, social media, or accounts on eCommerce platforms contain all of a user’s important information. They contain credit card numbers, bank accounts, and a lot more.
These are places where cyber criminals target because they can get money or personal information easily.
CHANGE IN CREDIT OR BANK AMOUNT
When you check your credit card bills, you suddenly noticed purchases that you haven’t done. Aside from an unknown purchase, you see changes in the amount of money on your bank. There are also bills you have to settle for your credit card.
This could note that someone may have hacked into your account, then using your credit card to purchase items. Or they could be transferring money out of your bank.
When you start receiving messages from your friends and family, informing you of strange messages you have been sending them, this could be that your account has been breached.
You also have noticed emails from your sent folder, containing messages you don’t normally send. But sometimes hackers don’t leave traces of their actions.
STRANGE LOG IN ACTIVITIES
Many emails and accounts have the ability to check your log in activity. Some of this can also show IP addresses or locations where your account has been accessed, and what device is used to access your account.
When you suddenly tried to log in to your email or account, you were denied access. You provided the right password or username, but you were locked out. This is one sign that your account has been hacked.
Now, if you have experienced these signs, you know that you have been hacked. The next question is, what do I have to do?
WHAT TO DO
SCAN YOUR COMPUTER
Sometimes a breach to your account could be due to apps or software you installed into your computer. This apps, mostly free, contain malware that could gain access to everything you do in your laptop.
When you scan your computer and find out the presence of a breach, you have to clean up your device. After which install a trustworthy anti-virus to keep your device safe.
Take note not to download any file on the web if you are not sure of its authority.
RESET OR CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD
If you have the ability to log into your account, the first thing you need to do is immediately change your password. When changing your password, you have to always keep in mind that you must never reuse a password. This only means that you don’t use the same password and add numbers or change the case of the letter.
Markus Jakobsson of PayPal said that “Password reuse is one of the great evils, and it’s very hard to prevent.” This only means that people tend to reuse their password. If you want to be secured from future attacks, make sure to completely change your password.
A strong password should contain upper and lower case letters, numbers, and a minimum of 8 characters.
RECOVER YOUR ACCOUNT
If you are locked out of your account, you can still get it back. Some email providers or social media companies offer the option to recover your account. You have to answer some questions first or follow the steps that each of these companies requires.
Once you get access to your account, change your password immediately.
INFORM PEOPLE ABOUT THE ATTACK
Sometimes we just want to stay silent and fix the problem. But it’s better to inform people you know about the breach. Informing them about your experience will help them not fall into the same trap and to let them know that the messages they have received were not actually from you.
CONTACT YOUR BANK
If you find out that your bank account has been hacked, you must immediately inform your bank. They will help you solve the issue, and some may return your money.
You also have the option to freeze your online banking transaction to avoid further loss of money and change your bank’s online account password and your card’s PIN.
CHECK OTHER ACCOUNTS
If your email has been hacked, make sure to check your other accounts. Often your main email contains most of your other accounts’ information. Check if there are strange activities to your accounts or if you are unable to gain access to it.
If you can’t gain access to other of your accounts, you can proceed to recover each of your accounts, as mentioned above.
UNINSTALL OR DE-AUTHORIZE THIRD PARTY APPS
These third-party apps or extensions that big companies authorize without the need to log in can be ways for hackers to remain in your account. Even if you clean your computer or change your password, if an app is still connected to your existing account, hackers can still gain access.
When you finally gain access to your account, before you change your password, go into every part of your account and check for possible changes. Check if your messages are forwarded to another account, or if answers to your security questions were altered.
Now that you’re done managing your account that has been hacked, it’s time to practice one thing, Prevention. Avoid installing unsecured apps or software, replying to phishing emails, and not updating software. Although anti-malware programs are not a 100% guarantee, it’s still best to install them. Purchase one from an authorized distributor.
John Ocampos is an Opera Singer by profession and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru, and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia – the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.