When you get a phone call from a friend asking about a strange email you sent, it is usually the first clue that you got hacked. Discovering your email is hacked is the first step to getting it back and preventing any future intrusions. When your email is hacked it is more than just an inconvenience, it can lead to identity theft and other security breaches. Moreover, if you are a victim of identity theft, it can ruin your finances and your credit rating. Before getting overwhelmed by the possibilities of becoming a victim of an email hack, here are some steps to take to help make sure your account is secure.
Change your password
The first thing to do once you know you have been hacked is to change your password. You want to make sure the hacker can no longer access your account. To help prevent getting hacked in the first place, it is good to change your password regularly.
There are a few things to think about when choosing a new password. First, make sure it is not similar to your previous passwords. For example, changing one number or adding a character does not necessarily make it a secure password. Also, don’t use personal information such as your first or last name. Better to create a password that includes a meaningful phrase or sentence and change it to include a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, or symbols. An example of this is using the sentence “I like coffee, but instead of spelling it all out, a password version might be, “1L1k3c*fF33”. Using a mix of numbers to represent letters and interchanging capital and lowercase letters will strengthen your password and make it harder to guess, decreasing your chances of being hacked.
Reclaim your account
Hopefully the hacker only logged into your account, but more often than not, they also change your password, which will lock you out of your account. If that is the case, you will have to go through the steps to reclaim your account. This can be done by clicking on the “forgot my password” link. Most sites will require answers to security questions. Depending on how your account is set up, it may ask you to log into a backup account. The specific requirements vary by company and platform. The best thing to do is to visit the help center on the website as a starting point for getting questions answered.
Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is when a second action is required for logging into your account. This is most often triggered when someone logs in from a new device. This can be done in a variety of ways. It may send a code via a text message or from an app that you will then be required to type in during the login process. You can set this up through the website or use third party providers that will allow you to add it to your email accounts.
Check your email settings
Sometimes hackers can change your settings to send themselves a copy of every email you receive. They would do this to attempt to gain access to other accounts through emails containing login information. Check in the forwarding settings to make sure there are no emails that you don’t recognize. Next, check your email signature. They can add features to your signature that will allow them to continue sending out their information even after they are logged out. Lastly, make sure they haven’t turned on the autoresponder setting. This would allow them to send out their own email every time you receive a message.
Scan your computer for malware
Run a complete scan with your anti-malware software. If you do not have an anti-malware program installed, you can download a free version of Malwarebytes. Even if you already have a program installed, it may be a good idea to try another program such as Malwarebytes, in case the one you are using is not working properly. A reliable software will scan all the computers that you login to and make sure they are all clear of any problems. If you uncover any issues, fix them, and then change your password one more time to make sure the malware did not pick up on the initial change.
At Landmark Title Agency, our escrow and title professionals handle both commercial and residential real estate transactions. As experts in the industry, we do everything to make sure your information and the processing of transactions are kept as secure as possible. Wire fraud is something we take very seriously. That is why we have checks in place to protect the security of transactions. If you would like to learn more or speak with someone on our team about your title and escrow needs, contact us today.