I Have Been Hacked: How to Get Out of Trouble

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You might have noticed that your passwords have changed or that you have received suspicious login alert emails from various online services you are using. In this tutorial, we will let you know how to determine whether you have been hacked and how to get out of trouble.

First thing first: 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 it. 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 for you 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.

Suspicious Logins

Most online services today 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:

  1. Changing the password
  2. Adding 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)
  3. Adding additional security levels the service provides

Unable to log in to your services?

If the hackers have already 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 are able to 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 are able to 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:

  1. Change passwords on all online accounts you still got access to and secure these as fast as possible.
  2. Ensure that you have secured your main email account, changed the password, implemented a recovery email, and enabled Two-Factor Authentication.
  3. Let all your friends and family members know that you have been hacked to ensure that they do are not scammed by the hackers pretending to be you.
  4. Do an assessment of which accounts have been hacked and what information the hackers have ended up with about you and your network.

After you got the full overview of the situation and after you’ve secured all other online accounts, you can start to recover your hacked accounts. Go through your emails to 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 password on your hacked account, 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. In the 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.

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A true digital entrepreneur worked in multiple organizations, a Global Shapers Alumni by WEF, founder of CCN.com, MyGoodAct.com, Tailored Message. Has extensive knowledge within the cybersecurity field. Director of Hawkfish AS and Hacked.com.