Posted on March 11, 2013
Been Hacked? Here’s what to do
Recognize that you are not alone! From the Spamlaws.com site:
“Spam accounts for 14.5 billion messages globally per day.”
A major portion of spam is generated by hacked email accounts. Being aware of such statistics, we must be diligent.
But that’s not always easy.
Crafty spammers lure victims into opening the email by using intriguing subject lines or a scary warning message or raise curiosity by using an enticing subject.
Most of us have received an email at one point or another with the subject need help and something about being stuck in some foreign place and needing money.
Likely as not, the email is not from a friend. The logical thing to do is simply delete, but, if you have world traveling friends, you hesitate.
When my email account was hacked and starting sending out the I’m stranded emails, relatives and friends who knew we did a lot of travel oversea actually called to verify the email was not from me.
But it’s not just those I’m stranded emails that suck us into responding.
Official looking mails with subjects like “Yahoo or PayPal or your Bank or Credit Card Company is verifying your account information” are a favorite ploy of hackers.
No matter how legitimate those emails appear, NEVER respond or click on any links. Credible sources will NOT ask for your password.
All that’s good to know information, you say, but it comes too late.
What should I do now that my email acount’s been hacked?
Here are my suggestions:
· Check your computer’s security.
This is the very first step. Until you do this, any other steps are useless.
Make sure, no matter which operating system you use, your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are up-to-date. With most programs, you can set the software program to automatically update when new security fixes are available.
If you cannot afford security software, you can find quality free security software. Simply search ’best free security software reviews’ in your preferred search engine.
· Change your password and make it stronger.
For tips and suggestions on how to do this, read the first part of this series here.
Next, and equally important, develop the habit of changing your passwords often.
· Send an email to all your contacts saying you were hacked.
Be sure to include notifying any site boards or loops to which you belong.
No reason to be embarrassed. Remember the statistics. Being hacked will happen to all of us at some point.
· Smarten up about spam, phishing, and scams.
If the little voice in your head says an email looks suspicious, it probably is!
Do NOT click on any links unless you are sure of the source. If you’re unsure, you should copy and paste the link into your browser.
· Validate any program, game, app, video, or song before downloading.
Statistics show that one out of every fourteen downloads contains malware, and planting malware on your computer is how hackers hijacked your email in the first place. Hackers crack anti-malware and anti-virus software almost as fast as it is developed.
Know the source you are downloading from!
And always be on guard.
YOUR TURN: What measures do you take to protect your email accounts?