November 27, 2019

Online security – how to check if your email account has been hacked

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Posted By
Russell Till
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When you think about all the information we share digitally on a daily basis and then think about someone unscrupulous getting their hands on it we really should take more care about protecting it.

I still hear people saying that their password is actually password or their children’s name and I can’t believe it. You wouldn’t leave your keys on the outside of your house so that someone could easily access it, so what would you have a password that is so easy to crack.

Emails are such a valuable target for hackers looking to find ways to steal personal information, access other accounts and even money.

Here are some signs that your emails have been hacked:

  1. A changed password

This sounds like an obvious point but if you go to log on to your emails and your password is not working and you know it is correct, your emails could have been hacked.

  1. Complaints from contacts

This is another easy to spot one, we’ve all received strange emails from family, friends or colleagues that are unexpected. Often we are alerted to this by contacts getting in touch to say that they have had a strange email from you. This could be because someone is using your email inbox to send spam but if you are receiving lots of emails from people to say they are concerned it is likely that your email has been hacked.

  1. Unusual IP addresses, devices, and/or browsers.

With many email services you can check your login activity and show the locations or IP addresses where your account has been accessed. Locations or devices that you don’t recognise showing up would indicate that someone has access to your account.

If you are faced with one or more signs that your account has been hacked, you need to act quickly.

Here are our top tips for keeping your email safe:

  1. Change your password

We know it can be a pain and no one likes to be changing their password and it is harder and harder to come up with a memorable word, phase or pattern that will keep your emails safe BUT it is a necessary action. You could use a system like LastPass to generate a new password for you and make the process easier.

  1. Notify people you know

Make colleagues and contacts aware that your think that your email may have been hacked and remind them no to click on links or open any unexpected attachments. The hackers may be trying to steal information from your contacts. By alerting them, you can help to protect them.

  1. Change your security questions

It is possible that the hackers broke into your account not via your password but via your security questions. How many people post their birthday, anniversary etc on social media and then use these key dates as security questions? Change them as soon as possible.

  1. Add two factor authentication

Check if your email provider supports two factor authentication, if it does, turn it on, if it doesn’t look into providers that do. The option for a second login step requiring additional factors can help to slow down and prevent hackers.

You need to do all you can to keep your data and your emails safe. If you need help we can work with you to run antivirus and clean up your device. It is always possible that hackers have put malware on your device, and we can run a scan to check for spyware and other malware. We are here to help and make you feel safer and secure in your online operations.