Power4Patriots’ 8 Steps to Take When an Email Account Is Hacked

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When people receive email from a contact requesting that money be wired immediately because the person is stranded in another country, it’s a pretty safe bet that the sender’s email account has been hacked. It happens frequently – even sometimes when precautions have been taken – so the key is to know what to do right away.

When a person’s email account is hacked, it’s very possible that one or all of the following computer symptoms will occur:

  •     The person’s email contacts are reporting spam messages from his/her account.
  •     The person is receiving bounced emails from random addresses that he/she doesn’t recognize.
  •     The person is unable to log into his/her account or change its settings.
  •     The person discovers that his/her settings have been changed.
  •     The person attempts to use his/her email, but finds that it’s been blocked by the provider.

It’s important to know what to do in this situation and to understand that time is of the essence. Damage has already been done, but the sooner one acts, the less of a problem it will become.

Best known for teaching people how to build their own environmentally-friendly sources of energy so that they can slash their power bills and be safe when power outages occur, Power4Patriots also wants to help people quickly deal with the damage of having their email accounts hacked and to remedy the situation.

Following are Power4Patriots’ 8 steps to take when an email account is hacked:

1.    Bring anti-virus and anti-malware programs up to date, then select a setting that sends an automatic notification when new security fixes become available.

2.    Change the password and make it more difficult to guess. Use both upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and symbols. Also, change passwords for other accounts, especially if the same password is being used for those accounts.

3.    Send an email to all contacts, apologizing for any inconvenience. Warn them not to click on any links within an email that looks suspicious. Tell them that steps are being taken to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

4.    Delete any old accounts that are rarely or never used anymore. They’re just sitting there waiting to be hacked.

5.    Consider compartmentalizing online life. Have one email address for personal and business communications, a second for communicating with online service providers and a third for registering on websites, signing up for newsletters, doing online shopping, etc.

6.    Don’t use public computers, such as those located in libraries, to check email messages.

7.    Be more cautious about opening emails and clicking on links. If a subject heading sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Banks and other legitimate companies will not ask people to authenticate personal information online.

8.    Be very careful when downloading programs, games, videos, songs and apps, some of which may have malware attached to them.

As seen on Yahoo News, here is a Power4Patriots’ article on how to handle cell phone hackers.

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Frank Bates