Your friends and family are getting e-mails from you that you didn’t send. Or maybe you want to check your e-mail, but wait, you can’t login. Sound familiar? Chances are your e-mail’s been hacked.
Don’t panic. The situation can be fixed. Start by updating or installing security software from a company you can trust. And set it to update automatically.
Hackers often hijack accounts by infecting your computer with malware. So it’s important to scan your computer first. Delete anything that identifies as suspicious and restart your computer. Now you’re working with a clean slate.
Next, if you can get into your account, change your password. If you use similar passwords for other accounts, change them, too. Passwords are the keys that open your accounts. They have to be memorable for you, but hard for someone else to guess. Some people use software that manages passwords to help create strong passwords and keep track of them.
If you can’t get into your account, check with your e-mail provider to find out how to restore it. Once you’ve got your account back, and check your account settings to make sure no one added any links to your e-mail signature, and that your e-mails aren’t being forwarded to someone else.
Finally, let your family and friends know your e-mail was hacked. Think of it as spreading good computer karma. And they may have some work to do, too. Want to know more about protecting your e-mail from hack attacks? Visit onguardonline.gov.