When a friend calls you up and says “Um, why did you send me a link to Viagra?” or “Dude, I think your email has been hacked,” most likely means it was.
Unfortunately this happens more often times than not and if action is not taken quickly, more damage could be done.
Your email was hacked due to a couple of reasons; the first being your password. If your password is not strong enough, it is easy for hackers to get into.
Viruses such as Malware and Social Engineering are other reasons why your email was hacked. These viscous infections make it very easy for hackers to figure out your passwords without you even knowing it.
The third reason might be the scariest of all-fake wifi internet connectivity. When you connect to free wifi, you are putting yourself at risk. There is something called a “Man in the middle” attack in which the “attacker intercepts messages in a public key exchange and then retransmits them, substituting his own public key for the requested one, so that the two original parties still appear to be communicating with each other.” A hacker can steal your password by doing this through free wifi internet activity.
So, what do you do when one of these occur?
- First change your password to your email and then some– If you are still able to log into your email account and the hacker has not changed it, simply follow the steps from your email outlet to change the password. If the hacker has already changed your password, recover your account by using your backup email address. These steps can be found within your email account’s outlet.
- Scan your computer- Use your virus protection program to scan your computer. If you do not have one, you may want to think about getting one. There are free virus programs out there. Contact your IT service provider for guidance on where to find these free programs.
- Notify your contacts-Let your contacts know what has happened. Advise them not to open the email that was sent from you and not to click on any links sent.
- Check any accounts linked to the email address that was hacked-If the hacker was able to get into your email account, they may have access to other accounts linked to your email. Change those passwords as well.