Have you recently noticed that your email inbox has been acting erratically?
Even if you’re still able to access your inbox, there is a possibility that your account has been compromised. Mailbox piracy comes in many forms and it can result in a variety of problems. In some cases, your email password will be changed and your account will be inaccessible. In other scenarios, the hacker will simply utilize your email account to send spam to your contacts. If you’ve discovered that you have become a victim of inbox piracy, it is time to take action immediately.
Below, you will find tips for reacting effectively to an email inbox hack.
Don’t Panic! Access Your Account
When you’ve first discovered that you have become a victim of an email hack, you’re likely going to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Do not fret and try to avoid panicking. First, you should attempt to analyze the damage. Visit your primary email provider and attempt to login to your account. If you’re unable to access your account using the associated username and password, it is highly likely that the hacker changed the credentials. Try using the email provider’s “password reset” option. You should be able to access this option from the login screen.
In order to reset your password, you’ll need access to your backup email or you’ll need to answer a few security questions.
Change Your Password Immediately
Once you’ve managed to gain access to your compromised email account, you’ll want to change the password immediately. There are several ways for hackers to gain control over your account. However, the most common cause of hacks is an unsecure password. With this in mind, you should take additional steps to ensure that your password is very difficult to guess. Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Simultaneously, it is wise to use uppercase and lowercase letters. Initially, you may need to write down the password, so you can avoid forgetting it.
Just make sure nobody will be able to find your notepad and hack your account again.
Check Other Accounts Immediately
After you’ve changed your email account password, you’ll need to analyze the extent of the hacking. Unfortunately, a lot of consumers utilize the same password for multiple accounts and this will open a lot of doors to the hacker. Check your other accounts, including those with Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, and your bank. If you’re able to login normally, you should check the account’s recent activity to make sure nothing suspicious is going on. Even if you do not notice anything out of the ordinary, you may want to change the password for added peace of mind.
Follow the aforementioned steps for changing your password and make sure you use different passwords for each account.
Check Your Outbox
Once you’ve taken steps to secure your other accounts, you’ll need to return to your primary email inbox. Check your outbox or your sent messages. Do you notice a lot of awkward emails sent to people on your contacts list? If so, it is highly likely that the hacker utilized your email to send spam to your friends and family members. If your friends are not careful, they may click on the links included in the message and their accounts may end up compromised as well.
With this in mind, you should notify these individuals immediately. Contact anyone that received a spam message from your account and make them aware of the situation.
Add 2-Factor Authentication
If you’re interested in preventing your email from being hacked again in the future, you will want to enable 2-factor authentication. With this setting enabled, you will receive a text message each time you try to sign in to your account from a new device. This might be an annoyance in the beginning, but it is truly the best way to prevent unwanted access to your email account. All major email providers, including Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, offer this security measure to their users.
Contact The Service Provider
Even after you’ve secured your accounts, you’ll want to notify the email service provider. In all likelihood, you’re not the only victim of the hacker and you will not be the last. Nevertheless, you may be able to help Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft put a halt to the hacker’s actions. Contact them and tell them about the problem. They may be able to identify and block the hacker’s IP address to prevent them from harming anyone else. Also, your vigilance may help these companies improve the security of their services.
Scan Your Computer
When it comes down to it, you may never figure out the true cause of the hack. Nevertheless, it is always better to be safe than sorry. In some cases, a hack will originate, due to a virus or malware being installed on the victim’s computer. With this in mind, you should take the time to scan your computer thoroughly with an up-to-date virus scanner. Even if nothing is detected, at least this action will give you reassurance that your computer is safe!