If you are immersed online and on social media, it seems that at one point or another, we will have our email hacked into.
While it may upset us, there are some simple precautions that can help prevent it.
Here are some tips from IT security services that may help you regain control:
Access your email account
The first step is to check the damage. Go to the website of your email provider, and log into your email account.
If the password has been changed, then try the password reset mechanism by clicking on the link marked “Forgotten your password?” or similar.
If can access your account, CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD ASAP.
Check your accounts connected to your email
After changing your password for your email account it is important to change the password of any other accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or your internet banking that may have the same password.
It is especially important if you use your email address as the username for those accounts, as the hackers now have both your username and password for those services.
Beware of spam
Some cybercriminals hack into email accounts in order to attack your friends or contacts. They use your email address to send spam or phishing emails attempting to trick them into thinking you need help, buy something or into giving up personal information.
Let your friends know that you’re not the one who sent out those spam.
Always protect yourself
The risk of having your email or other services hacked is increasing, but there are some things you can do to protect yourself from such risks.
The simple password is not as secure as it used to be, but choosing a strong password can help.
- Use alphanumeric passwords
- Don’t use your name
- Don’t use your birthday
- Change your password often
- Don’t use the same password for different accounts
- Use more than 12 digits in your password
- Never use a password twice
- Do not use real words
Add another layer of security to protect your email or social media accounts
Aside from using strong passwords, a different type of security mechanism called two-factor authentication is becoming increasingly available.
In principle it is quite simple. In addition to your username and password you have another form of identification, normally consisting of a code generated by a key fob or a smartphone app, that has to be put in at the time of login and changes every minute or so.
It means you keep something the hacker cannot get to, securing your account with another layer of security.
Or, get a good anti-virus that can block hackers or malware.
These types of security have been used by banks for a while, some giving out card readers that force you to enter your Pin to generate a code to input into your internet banking. Now most email providers and a variety of other online services offer two-factor or two-step authentication free of charge, so it is worth activating on your accounts if you have access to it.