How to recover your hacked email or social media account is one of the most asked questions of 2021.
Cybercriminals can profit from your email and social media accounts, which contain a lot of personal information.
According to crime reports, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook were the most targeted social media accounts. Phishing messages are the most popular tactic cybercriminals use to lure victims. Hacks can be motivated by a variety of reasons, including financial gain, revenge, or amusement. While some victims are being hacked for money, others have their accounts used to send harmful links to their friends.
The topics covered in this article are:
How to tell if your email or social media account has been hacked?
The following signs can indicate if your email or social media account has been hacked:
1) Your password has changed without you taking any action.
The fact that your email account cannot be signed into is one of the first signs that it has been hacked. Hackers will often change your password to stop you from logging into your account.
2) Mails from your inbox you don’t recognize.
Sometimes hackers won’t change your password to prevent you from noticing anything’s amiss. You can check your sent mail folder if you suspect something is wrong. If you find any email you are sure you did not send, a hacker has likely gained access to your account.
It would be best if you also were alert for emails containing password reset instructions that are sent from other websites, even though you did not request them. Hackers may gain access to your email to change your passwords on other websites. Hackers know that passwords are shared across many websites. They can access your email to see what websites you use most often, such as Amazon.
3) You start receiving unexpected emails.
Hackers who gain access to compromised email addresses will search for personal data such as your bank account number or credit card company. Some personal data, such as account numbers and user names, could be revealed.
Fraudsters can use this information to send messages to your bank or credit card company. They will also include personal data to give the messages an authentic appearance. These fraudsters may try to contact you using this information. It can be challenging to tell if the call/mail is genuine.
If you are unsure and messages come out of nowhere, don’t respond. Call the bank to confirm that they are trying to contact you.
4) Your log may show different IP addresses
This is a great way to determine if someone is using your account. An IP address is basically a digital address that reveals your exact location. Some email service providers offer a tool that will reveal your IP address. This tool is used every time you log in to your account.
5) Your friends start getting spam messages from you?
It’s possible to assume that your security and email have been compromised if your friends report receiving spam from your email address. It’s safe to assume that your personal information is at risk.
6) You suddenly see posts you didn’t make.
This is not always easy to tell. If several bloggers post to the same account, how can you know who is supposed to post what article? This is especially true if you use a tool that allows you to share blog posts across different social media channels.
7) Someone logged in to your account from an unusual place.
Many social media platforms allow you to view the location of your logins, including which devices they were logged into. If you’re in Ireland and see someone log in from a different continent than you, your account may have been hacked.
8) Spammy ads flood Facebook pages.
Have you heard of likejacking before? Spammy messages or posts from friends. These messages/posts will most likely be sent by your friends who were hacked. You’ll often get hacked if you click on those links.
9) You suddenly find yourself following many unknown, new people.
Are you suddenly following many unknown and new people? Malware could hijack your account and force you to follow spambots on Twitter and Facebook. This spreads malicious URLs to even more people. Unbeknownst to you, a variety of private messages/tweets are sent from your account.
How to get back into your account?
1) Run a scan of your computer and update security software.
This is an important step, especially if you don’t know how someone hacked your account. You can either use the security software included with your tablet, phone, or computer or download software from an established security company. Run it to scan for malware on your device. If suspicious software is found, you can delete it and then restart your device.
2) Change all your passwords.
Change your password immediately if you can log in to your email or social media accounts. It would be best if you also changed passwords that are similar to those used for other accounts. You should create complciated passwords that are difficult or impossible to guess.
If you cannot log in to change or reset your password, please check the information provided by your email provider. Many popular email service providers, such as Yahoo and Gmail, and social media sites (such as Facebook and Twitter) offer advice on protecting and restoring your account. You might have to fill out forms if someone has taken over your account.
3) Multifactor authentication can be set up.
When updating your password, make sure you check your email or social media accounts to see if you can turn on multifactor authentication. Multifactor authentication requires that you have a password and something else, such as a code from an authenticator application.
Steps to follow once you gain access back into your account.
1) Check your account settings.
Check these things after you log back into your email account.
- Take a look at your signature block to make sure there are no unfamiliar links.
- To automatically forward your emails, check your settings. You can delete any rules that you haven’t created to ensure your messages don’t get forwarded to another address.
- Check your social media accounts to see if there have been any changes, such as new “friends” since you last logged into.
2) Take inventory of your inbox.
Think about what information the hacker may have seen. Hackers are looking for information that could help them locate usernames or passwords to secure sites like online banking and retirement accounts. Change passwords to accounts at risk.
3) Tracks are to be searched thoroughly.
Review the Sent, Trash, and Deleted folders in your email account. It is possible to find clues as to what the hacker did. You might be able to find clues about what the hacker did by looking through emails sent from your account or that were viewed and deleted by the hacker.
Check your social media accounts for any messages the hacker may have sent.
This information will allow you to determine what information was disclosed. Check out our article on Identity Theft.
4) Notify your friends and contacts.
You can send your friends a quick text or email to inform them that you have been hacked. You should warn them not to click links from you or respond to fake requests for money or help.
How to prevent yourself from getting hacked?
1) Use multifactor authentication
Multifactor authentication, also known as two-factor authentication, is the best way to protect your online accounts. This method requires another piece of information, often an app code or SMS code. It is used in conjunction with a password.
This second piece of information is used to verify that you are trying to log in. The codes can often be accessed from your phone. Even if your password is easy to guess, it’s unlikely that an attacker will gain access to an account with multifactor authentication enabled unless they have your mobile phone.
However, you should first turn it on for any accounts containing personal information that could be misused. You can take advantage of messaging apps like WhatsApp and social media such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Twitter to access your email accounts.
Multifactor authentication is not all equal in terms of security. Apps that generate codes are generally considered more secure than SMS codes, and physical security keys offer an additional layer of protection.
2) A password manager is essential.
Let’s discuss passwords. You should never use ‘password” or ‘12345 for any passwords, even if you have a throwaway account.
Your online account passwords must be unique and strong. This means that your passwords should be difficult or impossible to guess. Your Facebook account password should not be the same as your online bank or retirement account password. You should also never use known information about you such as birthdays or anniversary dates as your passwords.
You can accomplish this with a Password Manager. Password managers help you create strong passwords and securely store them.
LastPass and KeePass are great password manager options.
3) Learn to spot phishing attacks.
Hackers used the pandemic to launch waves after waves of phishing attacks.
These types of scams can target anyone. It is essential to think before you click. Scam messages are designed to trick people into acting in a way that is not normal. They pretend to be urgent messages from managers or instant demands from them.
It’s impossible to detect every type of phishing attempt or scam. Scammers are constantly improving their techniques. However, being aware of the threat may help decrease its effectiveness. Always be cautious and think before you click. Only download files from trusted sources and people.
4) All things should be updated.
Attacks can be made on every piece of technology, from your smartphone’s Facebook app to your smart lightbulb operating system. Companies are constantly finding bugs and fixing them. It is vital to ensure that you are always up-to-date with the software and apps you use.
Start with your phone. Apple’s iOS 13 or higher automatically downloads updates for the latest apps and games.
After you have updated your phone, it is time to decide which devices you want to update next. These should be done in the order of their potential impact. You should list all computers and laptops you own and then go back through any connected devices in your daily life. Remember that everything is at risk.
5) All data should be encrypted.
It’s never been easier to protect your communications. Companies that handle our personal data, including files and messages sent to us via the cloud, have realized encryption can benefit them and their customers over the past half-decade. Encrypted services ensure that your data is more secure against surveillance and can’t be accessed if it’s lost or stolen.
ProtonMail, an encrypted email provider, can protect your messages. burner email account is also available for purchasing and mailing lists where you don’t want to give your personal data.
Encrypting your files can protect your data from being stolen or hacked. iPhone and iOS both automatically encrypt your hard drives. However, it would help if you used strong passwords or pins for your devices. Encrypting your hard drive on your computer or laptop takes a little more effort. To encrypt your startup disc, turn on Apple’s fileVault. On Windows, you can use BitLocker encryption.
6) Manage or terminate old or unused accounts.
The login information of old online accounts that you have not used in a while can be used against you. Hackers often use information from data breaches of the past to gain access to accounts that people use.
Decreasing the amount of information available online about your life can significantly reduce the risk of you being hacked. It is easy to regularly remove your Google search history.
There are several things you can do to decrease your digital footprint. You can find old accounts that you don’t use and then delete them. This will reduce spam and make it more challenging for hackers to target you. Use Have You Been Pwned? for information about your browsing privacy. Download Tor if your goal is to increase your anonymity online.
It can be challenging to deal with an email or social media account that has been hacked. We hope you found this article helpful. It might be worth considering the next steps to take after you have put out the flames.
For safety tips, we recommend you keep checking our blog to learn about cyber threats and suspicious activity that could be targeting your device and help you identify issues early.
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