There are many reasons that someone may try hacking your email. Much of the time, it is a complete stranger who simply wants to spam your contact list, often with the same phishing email they used to hack you. However, that is the best-case scenario. Email hacking can also be used to access sensitive account numbers sent via email or to steal your identity. Sometimes the people who hack your email are people you know, who could have a variety of intentions, none of them good.
How to Tell if Your Email Has Been Hacked
Since there are many different intentions behind an email hack, you must know what to look for. If you experience just one of the indicators below, it is likely that you have been hacked.
- You are unable to log in to your account.
- Friends, clients or colleagues reach out to let you know that they received an odd email from you—a phishing email.
- Your email forwarding feature is sending all your incoming messages to a secondary email, one not set up by you.
Securing Your Email Account After Being Hacked
First and foremost, change your email password. If you are unable to log in to your account, the hacker has likely changed your password. You should still be able to use the “forgotten password” account recovery feature to log in. Once logged in, immediately check your email forwarding to ensure your messages are not being forwarded to anyone else. Immediately email all contacts to let them know your account was hacked and to beware of your recent emails. Then, set up two factor authentication (2FA) to create a more secure login. For example, you may also have to answer a security question each time you log in.
What to do After Your Email Account is Secure
Now that your email account is once again secure, it is time to take things to the next level. Reach out to your email provider to let them know that your account has been hacked. They will suggest any further steps that you should take. Now is also a good time to change all of your passwords, especially if you have sent or received emails containing login information. Searching your email folders for the word “password” is an excellent way to double check. If you have received someone else’s sensitive information or account login information via email, reach out and let them know your account has been compromised. Also, don’t forget to run a scan on your computer to check for malware or a computer virus.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Being Hacked
The most cautious of us can fall victim to an email hack. Even if you are careful not to open emails that look suspicious, as a professional your job requires you to open emails from people you don’t know. Or, if someone you exchange emails with regularly has been hacked, you might open an email from them that contains malware. Here are a few ways to reduce your odds of an email hack.
- Set up a strong password with at least one symbol, one number and a mix of upper and lowercase letters. Do NOT use kid’s names, pet names, significant dates or favorite things as part of your password.
- If you accidentally open a suspicious email, immediately scan your computer and change your email password.
- Change your password, and double check your email forwarding every 4 to 6 months.
- Periodically check your “Sent” messages to see if there are outgoing messages not sent by you.
While most of your communication may be sent via text or social media, we tend to share private and sensitive information via email. This means that it is important to keep email security top of mind. For additional email and security tips don’t hesitate to reach out to CMIT Solutions of Centreville directly.
CMIT Solutions of Centreville provides a strategic approach to IT consulting that improves performance of your business technology in the most cost-effective way possible. Assisting businesses in Centreville, Chantilly, Dulles, Gainesville, Manassas and Haymarket, we can help you achieve the fastest return on your technology investment. Call 703-881-7738 today to see how we can help your business stay in business.