website hackingRecently I’ve received quite a few odd emails from obviously hacked into accounts so I thought I had better check that we all know the correct procedure to follow when we find our email has been compromised.

The obvious symptom of a hacked account is that all your contacts will be sent suspect emails from your account, you may receive bounced emails from email addresses you don’t recognise or you may even be locked out of your account by your provider because your email has been spewing out spam.

If you do get locked out you will have to follow a long-winded procedure which differs with each provider, it involves having to prove you are who you say you are & it is your account.  If this does happen it’s not good to just ditch the email address & start again, do try & regain control of your account.   There is a useful link on twitter which lists all the email providers support pages:

If you can still access your account or you’ve managed to regain access the first obvious step is to change your password, but before you do it’s a good idea to check that all the updates are current on your anti-virus software.  This is necessary just in case your computer has been infected with malware as it could continue to transmit your info to the hacker.

When you know you’re anti-virus software is up-to-date and you’ve changed your password you also need to check your email settings to make sure the hacker has not set up any notifications to his own email account.  Check that your signature has not been changed and that your account has not been forwarded to any other email addresses.

You should only really need to contact those that you have sent spam to if the email contained requests for money in any form, if the spam sent was just the usual nonsense with a link attached then everyone will be well aware that it’s spam.

To avoid all these problems make sure you never click on any links if you don’t know exactly what it is you’re linking to. Try to avoid checking your emails on public computers & if you do need to change your password frequently.  It’s good practise never to list your email online unless you have taken proper precautions to avoid spam (ask you web designer how) and finally it’s really good practise to have more than one email address have a separate email for logging onto online shopping sites etc and always use different password/email combinations don’t use the same password for everything!                                                               

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