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You’re Email Has Been Hacked! Here’s How to Recover Your Account.

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One of the most common attacks on families today is where cyber criminals hack into our email accounts. This article explains why they do this (to what end) and how you can recover our accounts should it happen to you!
First things first.

Why do cyber criminals hack into our email?

1. To Send Scam Emails From

This is the classic approach. They us our accounts to target our entire social circle. Why do they use our account and not a random fake one? Using a legitimate account…

  • Saves Them Time – you already have a contact list. To build up this contacts list themselves could take them a long time.
  • Instant Access to Targets – when they take over control of your account they will have immediate access to probably hundreds of your friends and family (who soon will be their targets). So rather than targeting individuals to scam sniper-style, they can target your entire social group shotgun-style! This makes for a much more scalable business model for them.
  • Immediate Authenticity – when they message your social circle, as long as they do it convincingly, they have instant authenticity because they are masquerading as you, a stand up member of society!

2. Harvest Our Personal Data

Did you know that your personal data has an actual value on the black market? If you go to the dark web you can go shopping for stolen credit card details like you would your groceries. Shoppers can sort and filter by bank, card type, city, country and so on! In a report by McAfee called The Hidden Data Economy, they found cyber criminals actually paying for our social media account credentials for around $5 each, stolen bank cards for $5-$30 (US), $20-$35 (UK) and $25-$45 (Europe). Unsurprisingly, online banking login credentials are especially valuable averaging around $190 for access to a bank account with a $2,200 balance.

Think of all the information you store in your email. How long have you had that account for? When did you last purge your messages? No doubt you’re like 99% of the population and your email inbox actuals as a colossal archive or some of your most sensitive data.

Remember sending your wife a photo of your passport so she could check you in for your summer holiday? Remember emailing your husband your bank details so he could move some money around to pay off the credit card bill?
All this is stored in your email and can be discovered and extracted by cyber criminals. They then sell it for a profit or use it to defraud you directly or steal your identity.

That’s enough of the scary stuff...

What can we do about it?

You’ve Had Your Email Hacked…Here’s How to Fix It!

1. Immediately Change All Key Passwords.

This includes your email, login to your PC/laptop, and any other key online accounts where you use this email address (Amazon, other email accounts such as Hotmail, Facebook, etc.). If you’ve been locked out, follow the password recovery process provided by your email provider.

2. Check If Other Email Addresses Have Been Hacked.

If you have other email addresses you use (personal and work) its worth checking them at www.haveibeenpwned.com to check if others have also been breached. Check other families members’ emails too. Repeat all these steps for other email addresses that have also been breached.

3. Check Your Inbox Sent & Deleted Items.

The attacker may have deleted any other emails they sent from your account but if they didn’t, you’d be able to see who else they emailed and for-warn them. Also check they haven’t setup an auto- forward to another email account (see your email account settings).

4. Scan for Viruses.

Whoever hacked your email may have loaded something onto your laptop/ PC so check this using your Anti-Virus software.

5. Setup Breach Monitoring.

Get notified when your personal data is leaked online. Go to www. breachalarm.com and register yours and your families email addresses. It’s free and quick to setup.

6. Use a Password Manager.

Your email was most likely breached because it was weak. Download and use a password manager because;

  • They enable us to have unique and long passwords for individual accounts (rather than us having one for all accounts which is very risky).
  • They take all the admin burden of remembering our passwords off us...they’re awesome!
  • If you have a mac, it has one built in called ‘KeyChain Access’. If on Windows, I’d recommend LastPass or 1Password.

I hope now you feel like if you have your email account hacked, you’ll know exactly where you can come to find out exactly what to do. Check out the rest of my guidance at www.simplecyberlife.com!

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