Throughout the year, this tip has covered how to spot a phishing email as well as the importance of enabling multi-factor authentication where it is applicable. This time we will discuss what to do if you have fallen for a phishing email and have had your email account compromised.
According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 4 percent of people on average are falling for phishing emails, and 1 in 131 emails contain malware.
If your email account gets hacked, here are a few items you can do to help resolve the issue and reduce the chance of it happening again:
- Keep your computer’s anti-virus and security patches are updated – Most of these email compromises come from malware that has been installed on the computer. Making sure your anti-virus software and security patches are up to date is paramount to keep malware off your computer.
- Update your passwords – If you have an email account that has been hacked, the best thing you can do is make sure that you change the password and consider making it longer in length, typically at least 15-characters in length is a great starting point.
- Change your security questions – If your email was hacked from an unfamiliar device or location then it is possible that the adversary knows your security questions. Updating your security questions and avoid common answers that could be easily guessed.
- Enable two-factor authentication – This requires that a hacker not only needs your email password but also something YOU physically have, such as your mobile phone. Most email providers offer two-factor authentication; if you have not enabled it, you should consider enabling it.
- Let your friends and family know you were hacked – It helps stop the spread of malware when you let those contacts in your email know you have been hacked. Informing them helps make them more aware of any emails they might have received from you.
While we will never be able to stop criminals from sending phishing emails, knowing what you do if your email account has been hacked will go a long way in reducing the impact to you and your contacts.
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