Have you been hacked? Here’s What to Do
You might have noticed that your passwords have 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 and cannot recover it, you could be hacked.
First thing first: Notify your Friends, Family Members, and Followers
It is utterly important that your friends and family members are aware that one or more of your accounts have been hacked. The reasons are:
- Most hackers hack for financial gain, and when they get access to your account, they will try to scam or blackmail you or attempt to scam your friends or followers of your hacked account. We have had multiple clients that were hacked by their own friends on e.g. Facebook, as a hacker already controlled their 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. Think about it, if you got a message from your dad, brother, or best friend, to send you a code from your phone, would you not do it?
- The second reason is that the hacker might post sensitive or violating content on your own profile. If you are an employee or have important positions, this might get you in serious trouble.
We have created a page with information that you can send to your friends, family members, and followers to ensure that they are kept safe and understand what you are going through. You can also have friends post this page on their profiles referring to your account specifically.
We can also reach out to your friends for you and explain the situation in depth to ensure their safety. Fill in the form below, and we will get to work:
Never pay a ransom
If you have been hacked and the hackers have reached out to you demanding ransom, do not respond and definitely do not pay. By paying the hackers for their illegal activities, you are indirectly funding and supporting their operations, which means that they can continue hurting other people and businesses.
If hackers approach you and ask for a ransom, you should contact your local law enforcement and file a police report. You can also hire a third party that can talk to the hackers so you won’t be in direct contact with them.
What is important to know about most hackers is that they are in it for the money. The minute they understand you won’t give you any money, they will leave you alone and move onto their next victims. Most extortion attempts are shallow and won’t materialize.
Today, most online services will let you know if you have been logged into their services 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 the service provides
Unable to log in to your services?
If the hackers have changed your password and/or email, and you are unable to log back into your own account, you should follow the service’s own 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 try to get in touch with customer support of the service and see if they can help you.
I Know I have been Hacked. What do I do?
If you are certain that you have been hacked, you should follow our protocol:
- Change passwords on all online accounts you still got access to and secure these as fast as possible.
- Ensure that you have secured your main email account, changed the password, implemented a recovery email, and enabled Two-Factor Authentication.
- Let all your friends and family members know that you have been hacked to ensure that they are not scammed by the hackers pretending to be you.
- Do an assessment of which accounts have been hacked and what information the hackers have received about you and your network.
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 an 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.
When filing a hacked report form, it can take up to two weeks before you get a response. Meanwhile, you should keep an eye out for changes on your account that has been hacked.
For the worst extortion attempts and hacking breaches, you should consider involving your local law enforcement and file a police report. Read more about that there.
Featured image by TY Lim from Shutterstock.com.