What To Do if Your Email is Hacked
Whether it’s communicating with family, friends, or colleagues, email is one of the single most widely used tools we use to stay productive. In fact, over 2.9 billion people will be using email by 2019. That’s more than a third of the planet’s population, making email one of the biggest targets for cyber criminals. So, do you know what to do if your email is hacked?
The Value of a Hacked Email
A hacked email account is a treasure trove. Aside from the monetary value of the account itself, which may be between $1 and $8, an unsecured email account:
- Is a gateway for spam, phishing, and malware attacks
- Gives attackers an easy way to harvest your contacts—also for spam, phishing, and malware attacks
- Can provide access to your online storage locations, like Dropbox and Google Drive
- May provide access to your bank and online merchant accounts (e.g., through password-reset messages)
- Often holds license key codes to software you’ve installed on your devices
- May contain work documents or information for accessing work-related accounts (e.g., Staples, FedEx, Salesforce.com)
Protecting Your Inbox
The easiest way to protect what’s in and connected to your email is to secure your inbox. Most email service providers (ESPs) now offer the option to activate multifactor authentication (MFA) or Two-Factor Authentication (TFA). MFA and TFA protocols provide an additional layer of security that requires users to supply more than one method of user identification to verify account ownership. For example, security codes are one-time authentication methods used to secure email. If a user attempts to access your email account from an unknown browser they will be asked for a security code in addition to your password, typically sent to your mobile phone. If the unknown user doesn’t have the security code, they cannot access your email account even if your password has been compromised.
What To Do if Your Email is Hacked
Despite all of your security measures, attackers may still manage to compromise your email account. So, what can you do if your email has already been hacked? If your work email has been hacked, the first step is to contact your managed IT service provider (if your company has one). If your personal account is hacked, you can:
- Run your antivirus solution on the compromised device
- Change all your passwords
- Report the hack to your service provider
- Contact Equifax and any other credit agency so that they can monitor your financial accounts
- Notify all the people in your email contacts list
- Notify your bank and services such as social media and subscription entertainment accounts like Netflix and Pandora
For businesses, it’s critical to make sure that no ransomware, spyware, or malware has spread to internal servers and computer systems. If your company doesn’t have an IT professional, it’s important that you find one right away because an email breach is often times just the beginning of a larger, impending security threat.
Even if your business does work with an IT professional or managed service provider, receiving a second opinion from another IT security professional can go a long way towards mitigating vulnerabilities. The objective is to prevent any further damage that could potentially occur in the future. All Phases IT specializes in IT security and our team can perform a comprehensive network security analysis to ensure your business is protected. Contact us today to request a 30-minute phone consultation and evaluation of your IT environment.