The digital age has created a world where almost everything is available on the Internet, meaning that if your information is hacked there is a real potential for damage. Getting hacked feels like you’ve been personally invaded. Your passwords being changed means you can’t access the services you usually do and are locked out from these, along with exposing personal information to a stranger who you have no intention of disclosing to. There are actions you can take if you end up being an unfortunate victim of hacking. Most companies have implemented policies and procedures to reduce the success of hackers and get you back in the driver’s seat of your account.

Cybersecurity iconDetermining if your account has been compromised isn’t too difficult. The first sign is that you aren’t able to log in because your password doesn’t work. Ensure you know that you’re using the right password before immediately going into panic mode thinking that you’ve been hacked. Attempt to log in from another device. Check your email to see if the site or company you’re trying to log in to has detected any signs of suspicious activity, such as too many failed attempts or a log-in from a different area or country. Companies will typically lock accounts and require a password reset as a safety measure. Once you’ve determined for sure that you’ve been compromised, it’s time to do some damage control.

Sound the Alert
Large companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft don’t want your accounts to get hacked either. They are very cooperative and try their best to ensure you are able to keep your information private and put your account back in your hands. Report the hack to the company. A contact or support page can guide you in the right direction to get your account locked down. Verification to re-gain access may include verifying your phone number or email address to prove your identity, depending on the company since each has their own procedure for restoring account access. Re-gaining access isn’t the only thing you should do, though.

Get a new password
Immediately change your password and don’t use anything you’ve used before or something that is obvious based on your account, such as your birthday. Change passwords on any other accounts that you have using the same password to help protect them from being hacked too. Use a strong combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.

Run a security check on your computer to check for malware or viruses. Then, turn on two-step verification that requires you to enter a code that gets sent to your phone for new logins. This makes it significantly more difficult to infiltrate your account. Poke around your settings to see if anything looks suspicious or if it has been changed.

Take the time to check your other accounts for suspicious activity and change your passwords if it’s been awhile. Keep your security settings strong and your information private by being proactive instead of reactive. Hacking can happen to anyone, no matter who or where you are.

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