If your email, banking or social media account is hacked, you need to act fast. Hackers might want to use them as a spam source and steal your money and/or your identity.
It is not a new thing that villains try to steal credentials and other data to use the hacked accounts for their illegal actions. So, the important thing is to know what to do if this might happen to you.
In this article, we tell you what immediate steps you need to take to recover and secure access to your accounts.
How do villains hack accounts?
Any security issue can lead to bad situations that affect your personal, financial, or professional life. No matter whether you click untrustful links or ignore keeping your antivirus software up to date, dangers are everywhere online.
Cybercriminals usually hack accounts by the use of phishing. They send tricky emails, direct messages, or social media posts to lure their victims to click dangerous links. Or they might even determine users to download malicious software.
Whenever you do not pay enough attention to what you do online, this can happen. And the result is that cybercriminals get access to your accounts or even the entire device.
But this might happen even without you doing anything wrong. A data breach can reveal your credentials, if villains hack the company that controls the account. In this case, any password you reuse is a gate for them to all the platforms where you have your accounts.
How to spot if your account is hacked?
There are always signs that your account(s) have been under the control of hackers. And you should recognize them. So, here they are.
On social media platforms, you might see your account posting messages that you have never written. Or your friends might tell you that they receive messages that you have never sent.
The same thing might happen when attackers send emails from your address. Usually, they try to convince people in your network to click on links, download apps or access an online store for irresistible offers.
Some other times, you might just receive an email from a company, that lets you know a data breach or cyberattack resulted in your data being compromised.
Take these steps right away
If any of the scenarios described above happens and you think your account is hacked, you should not panic. Firstly, follow these preliminary steps as soon as possible.
- Change your password. If the hackers have not done that already, this might block access for them to your data.
- In case they were faster and have already changed it, search for the “forgot my password” option to reset it.
- If this does not work, contact the platform immediately.
- Let your contacts know about what happened so that they are aware that you are not the one sending the messages. Warn them to not open these messages and click on the links they contain. Also, announce them when you solve the issue.
- Keep your security protection up to date. As cybercriminals had access to your system, there might be malware on it. So, scan it for any security issues.
- Contact the authorities or the people in charge. This might mean the police if your identity was stolen. Also, call the police and the bank if money is missing from your accounts.
Also, always remember the security measures that are also valid for gamers:
- Set strong and complex passwords.
- Always use multi-factor authentication (MFA), when available.
- Think twice before any click.
- Make sure you turn on automatic updates, both for your system and for your antivirus software.
Thus, you will always be on the safe side.