Have you had your email hacked recently? You are in good company! President G.H. Bush had his hacked while in the hospital; Sara Palin was a victim of email hacking (good company??). Many of us still don’t use the best passwords, nor do we change them very often. I have seen recently many sites requiring 10 character passwords, with at least one lower case, one uppercase, one number and one character! But just changing your password may not be enough! A little bit of searching can give a hacker enough information to also guess your answers to your security questions! Then, they can change your password, the security questions, alternate email account, and guess what (?), it is now their email account, lost to you forever!! I couldn’t believe it either, but think about it …
So if your email gets hacked, or know your password is weak, or have the usual answers for security questions, don’t have an alternate email, you better get off your b*&)tt, and change everything RIGHT NOW!!
If you still can …
- try to recover your account with the ‘forgot/lost password’ option
- make your new password at least 10 characters
- change all of your security question answers (hint: your ANSWERS don’t even have to answer the questions, just as long as they ARE YOUR ANSWERS! Be aware to then WRITE them down in a safe place!)
- get an alternate email address to get confirmations on changes, preferably through a different email provider
- make sure there is no information that you don’t recognize, such as phone numbers or email addresses that you don’t own
- consider getting 2 or 3 addresses for different activities
- I have one for web-sites I go to that require an email, or shopping I do only occasionally; that email address gets all of my SPAM
- my main one is for personal use, banking and credit card and it gets hardly no SPAM
- one more I have is for regular shopping, and other places I trust to send me various account information
- download your email to your computer. I use Mozilla/Thunderbird (because Outlook and Windows mail are now web-based due to Windows 8), doing so is essentially backing up your email onto your computer.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE SOMEONE HAS SENT YOU EMAIL FROM A ‘HACKED’ ACCOUNT:
- The subject line contains THEIR name. Who is going to send you an email with their name (FULL name usually) as the subject?
- One of the recipients of the email is the sender
- If you think it’s suspicious, contact them another way after deleting the email, they can always send it again if is legitimate
If you still aren’t convinced that this could happen to you ask around and see how many people you know that have been hacked. This is only the beginning of identity theft. If someone gets your email password, he can access your account because anyone can get the ‘settings’ to any email provider, they are readily accessible, all they need then is YOUR PASSWORD to send, AND RECEIVE YOUR EMAIL. That means personal email, which they can start to garner what you might use for usernames and passwords. If you bank online they will get those emails; they may be able to guess your username as they learn more about you, then they go to your bank or credit card site and hit the ‘change password’ button, they will receive the confirmation email, AND YOU ARE SCREWED!
The bottom line is; we have to get smarter as they get smarter! It is what it is, and we all have to be proactive to make sure we are not victims (to email hacking) who have to now prove that we are who we say we are.
Please pass along these tips to everyone you know. ter as they get smarter! It is what it is, and we all have to be proactive to make sure we are not victims (to email hacking) who have to now prove that we are who we say we are.
Please pass along these tips to everyone you know.