Logging into one of your accounts - whether at home or at work - and realising that you weren’t the last person to access it can be a big shock. “How did the hacker find my password? What information was available to them? Is it too late!?” - Thankfully this isn’t the case.
If these digital vandals have stopped you from accessing your accounts, for whatever reason that may be, major internet services have prepared ways that you can regain access. Additionally, these methods can minimise the damage these anonymous bandits can cause.
How do you know you’ve been hacked?
If you attempt to log in with a saved password but you aren’t being granted access, this is a big clue. However, you shouldn’t immediately expect the worst.
Firstly, check your emails to see if your account has experienced any suspicious activity. Many media platforms will send you an email to say there was an “unexpected log in attempt” to your account. This means that somebody has accessed your account through a device that the platform does not recognise to be yours.
Secondly, try accessing your account through a different device than the one you previously tried. If it isn’t letting you log in either then this is an indication that you have been hacked.
Finally, if you can log into your account, try scanning through to see if the hacker has left any obvious clues. For example, if you think your Facebook account has been hacked, you should check if anything has been added without your permission (i.e. a status).
If you’re convinced that your account has been hacked, it’s time to make a stand. You’re going to retake control of your account and kick the hacker out.
Changing your Password
If you’re able to log in, it’s time to change your password. Doing this will boot out anyone with the previous password saved on their device. But even if your account hasn’t been accessed, it’s worth changing them just in case they try to access your account at a later date.
When deciding on a new password, you should always go for a one which has no correlation with your previous password. This will stop the hacker from being able to guess it, and you having to go through this whole process again. REMEMBER: A good password is easy to remember but hard to forget. Our Cyber Security Awareness Course has a section dedicated to creating the perfect password!
Presuming that you have security software downloaded (if not, I strongly advise that you get some), you should open it up on your device and go to its settings menu. Make sure it has the latest update, this makes sure ensures that the most recent virus threats are acknowledged in its database.
After this step, manually choose to run the most thorough scan possible through all of your systems. This should hopefully pick up any threats that are hiding in the system and then remove them for you.
Portable Devices & Shared Machines
Setting passwords on your phone, laptop, and other portable devices can also help. If these are stolen and do not have a passcode/password, the thief will have easy-access to your data. This could include your name, address, credit card information, and even some of your contacts details.
On your home computer, you have the choice for your browser or individual websites to remember your usernames and passwords and to fill them in for you, but you should uncheck this option on shared machines.
Auto-complete functions also have the ability to save usernames and other details for e-commerce stores, as well as credit card details, but can be a major risk on a shared computer, where it’s wise to turn this off.
If even one of your accounts has been hacked, check them all - just in case. If they’ve been hacked too, change the passwords immediately.
Another tip is to have a different password for each of your accounts, to make it even harder for hackers.
You’re not alone
Companies as big as Microsoft, Google, and Apple are on your side and are prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure your data stays private.
One measure that these tech-giants often put in place is suspending your account. What could this possibly do to help you avoid getting hacked? Well, what really happens is that these services do not authorise anybody logging into your account for a period of time because somebody has tried to gain access to it with incorrect information too many times. When this happens, you should contact the company via their technical support services and explain your situation. However, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE ON THEIR OFFICIAL WEBSITE! Some hackers have created fake websites, made to look like official technical support websites. They may ask for an answer to a security question, which you do not want to enter into an unofficial website. Additionally, if they ask you for your password, DO NOT GIVE IT TO THEM! This is the biggest indicator that the website is a fake. You can also check if the website is official by their URL. Look out for long and ugly URLs that do not seem right and the green padlock in the search bar that indicates whether or not a website is secure.
Once you have reported the issue, the service should provide you with the correct procedure to follow for gaining access to your account again. It’s very uncommon for this method to not resolve your problem, however, there are other ways you can protect your account.
Cyber Security Awareness Training
Here at iHasco, we offer a Cyber Security Awareness training course, which covers all of the basic topics that your staff need to know to protect your company’s data.
It’s simple, straightforward and provides practical steps to follow to minimise your chance of being hacked. The course also helps you comply with current legislation relating to Cyber Security.
The course is suited for all abilities and is strongly recommended to everybody. Claim your free, no-obligation trial today!