You might have noticed that your password has changed or that you have received suspicious login alert emails from the online services you are using. If you are locked out of your online account, like your Facebook account, and cannot recover it, you could be hacked. Learn the immediate steps you must take if your online account has been hacked.
First thing first: Notify your Friends, Family Members, and Followers
Your friends and family must get notified that one or more of your online accounts have been hacked. The reasons are:
- Most hackers hack for financial gain. If they get access to your account, they will try to scam or blackmail you or attempt to scam your friends or the followers of your hacked account. We have had multiple clients hacked by their friends on, e.g., Facebook, as a hacker already controlled their friends’ accounts. This is a continuous loop where the hacker keeps hacking friends of a hacked account and then repeats it. It’s called social engineering. Would you not do it if you got a message from your dad, brother, or best friend to send you a code from your phone?
- The second reason is that the hacker might post sensitive or violating content on your profile. If you are an employee or have important positions, this can get you in trouble.
We have created a page with the information you can send to your friends, family members, and followers to ensure they are kept safe and understand what you are going through. Friends can also post this page on their profiles, referring to your account specifically.
Never pay any ransom
If you have been hacked and the hackers have contacted you demanding ransom, do not respond or pay. By paying the hackers for their illegal activities, you indirectly fund and support their operations, which means they can continue hurting other people and businesses.
Today, most online services will let you know if someone has logged onto your account with a different computer, IP, or browser. If you do not recognize a login, you should take immediate action and secure your account by:
- Changing the password
- Adding 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)
- Adding additional security levels to the specific services provides
Unable to log in to your services?
If the hackers have changed your password and/or email and cannot log back into your account, you should follow the service’s protocol for hacked accounts. Often you can reset recent changes from the email alerts sent by the service. If that does not help, you should contact customer support to see if they can help you.
I know I have been Hacked. What do I do?
If you are confident that you have been hacked, you should follow our protocol:
- Change passwords on all online accounts you can access and secure these as fast as possible.
- Ensure you have secured your primary email account, changed the password, implemented a recovery email, and enabled Two-Factor Authentication.
- Let all your friends and family members know you have been hacked to ensure they are not scammed by the hackers who might pretend to be you.
- Assess which accounts have been hacked and what information the hackers have received about you and your network.
- Do not create a new profile or account on the same platform you were hacked using the same credentials like email or phone number. This makes it harder to recover your account.
After you get the full overview of the situation and secure all other online accounts, you can try to recover your hacked accounts. Go through your emails and see if you can find security alerts from the service you’ve lost access to. Often, they give you the option to reset recent changes to your account.
Try to reset your hacked account’s password using both the email option and the SMS option where applicable. If that doesn’t help, go to the service’s help portal and see if you can find a form to report a hacked account. You can also try to contact the service directly if they have a phone number or support email.
For the worst extortion attempts and hacking breaches, you should consider involving your local law enforcement and file a police report.
Feel free to check out our tutorials on how to recover certain accounts:
Featured image by TY Lim from Shutterstock.com.