What To Do When Your Email Gets Hacked

If you feel that someone has broken into your email account and sent out emails to people in your address book, there are a few questions to determine to what level of hacking has occurred and how to respond effectively and efficiently. First of all, where are the contacts located that are getting the SPAM email? More often than not they are in your online address book, meaning that the hack took place online with Hotmail, gmail, yahoo etc and chances are there’s not remnants of a bad program on your computer. The first thing I would is to change your password to your email. Obviously, this will affect your email access capability on your iPad, Outlook/Outlook Express/Windows Live Mail accounts as well as your cell phone, so be prepared to change it everywhere. I would also recommend logging in from another computer that you feel is clean in order to execute the changes. Then make sure your computer has updated antivirus and a clean bill of health from a tool like Malwarebytes (a complement, not a replacement for your antivirus). A very important thing to recognize is that when a hack of your email happens in this manner, the hack MAY NOT have happened on your computer. It could have happened ANYWHERE and it just so happens that you were on your computer when you noticed. Since people commonly use their email password as other website passwords, it only needs to be hacked in one of those locations for a bad guy to cross reference and say “well, Frank Smith @ gmail.com used 123abc as his Georgia Power login, I wonder if he uses the same password on gmail”.

Now, if your email gets hacked on your computer and you can definitely tell because all the bad SPAM messages are sitting in your SENT ITEMS in Outlook/Outlook Express/Windows Live Mail, that’s a much bigger problem. That means that there is probably a keystroke logger watching your computer and it’s time to call Dunwoody PC to clean up the viruses.

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