With 22% of the people saying that they have got their online accounts hacked at least once and 14% of the people have been hacked more than once, hacking can happen to anyone.
Getting your account hacked is no less than a nightmare, but with the growing number of cyber attacks, it is likely possible that someone just hacked your account. While getting hacked might make you panic a bit, leaving you clueless about what to do next. But, certainly this is not the end, and you can make sure to recover your account by following some steps that we would be discussing in this article.
Before we dive into the steps that you should do upon getting hacked, it is first important to know that you are being hacked, so that you can do something about it.
Here are some of the signs that point out someone has hacked you:
If you find any of these signs, then it is very likely that someone has hacked you. In such a case, when you feel that your online privacy has been compromised, then follow the directed steps to minimize the loss and prevent a further breach.
As soon as you get to know that you have got hacked, calm down and take the following measures to mitigate the ill effects of getting hacked and lower down the risks of compromising your data further.
Note down the changes you are witnessing, take screenshots if required, so that you can report the hacking incident and take professional help from the Cybercrime cell. Get an idea of to what extent your accounts have been hacked and since when. This information would be helpful for the recovery phase.
Changing the password immediately is the first step to recovery, now that your password is already compromised, change it as soon as possible. In case you have been using the same password for other online accounts too, change it for them as well.
It is likely possible that the hacker could target your connections online, and to prevent it, make sure you inform all your friends and connections to beware and report if they get any communication from your account, as it has been hacked.
The hacker might have posted some spam content from your profile which could trap others. Flag such malware posts, report and delete them immediately.
With a massive rise of cyber attacks on IoT devices since 2017 as per the ISTR 2019 report from Symantec, IoT is the new hotbed of cyber attacks globally. Make sure to disconnect all the IoT devices that are connected to the affected account and reset their settings.
Often our online accounts have sensitive information like finance related files, important documents, personal information, etc. which the hackers could misuse.
Immediately delete any such information, because despite your account being hacked, still, there are chances that the hacker might not have accessed the data and you can save it by simply deleting it permanently.
It is common to link various online platforms for easy access. But if one of your accounts gets hacked, make sure to remove all the other online accounts that are linked with it to save them from getting compromised.
Hacking could have impacted your device and even if you recover the affected account, it is essential to remove the malware files from the device. Scan your device thoroughly using a good anti-malware software, and delete the corrupt files permanently.
There are chances the hacker might have used your device, to ensure this, check the storage files in the logs and if you find any files that are not created by you, then it is likely that the hacker might have created them. Delete these files permanently.
There are chances that the hacker might have changed the settings to get access to sensitive data. Make sure you check the settings of all your accounts and devices and reset them if you find any discrepancies.
Once you have taken all the above measures to mitigate the risk, make sure you lodge a due complaint with the concerned authorities about the hack and get technical help. Here’s the list of contacts that could come handy when you get hacked:
Here are a few preventive measures that you could take in order to save yourself from getting hacked again:
Make sure your firewall settings are on so that any potential malware content gets dodged off.
Reset your passwords and make them strong enough by keeping a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Do not set passwords based on information that can be easily guessed such as date of birth, your name, etc.
To keep your accounts secure, opt for two-factor authentication, where you can log in with a combination of correct password and the OTP you receive on your phone number.
Avoid using public networks as they are vulnerable and there are chances that someone might likely intercept your network.
While setting up the security questions, make sure you choose strong questions whose answers cannot be easily known to make sure your account is secured.
If you feel that your device is largely affected by the hacking, then it is advisable to format the device so as to get rid of the malware files permanently.
Once you’ve formatted the system reinstall a trusted antivirus or anti-malware software immediately to avoid getting hacked in future.
Phishing is widely used to hack users and compromise their accounts and devices. If you find any email suspicious do not open the file attached to it. You can simply mark it spam, delete it, or report it.
Now that you know what you should do when you get hacked, it is important that you get a thorough understanding of cybersecurity, in order to be able to protect yourself and others around in such situations of crisis.
You can opt for cybersecurity courses that teach how to identify potential vulnerabilities, mitigate attacks, and dealing with such emergencies, in order to secure your network from potential cyber attacks.