If your email account gets compromised by a cybercriminal, it's a pressing issue that must be dealt with immediately. Your email is the gateway for hackers to gather lots of personal and confidential data about you, which they can use for fraud or identity theft.
There is also the important fact that your email accounts are often linked to other online accounts like your banking app or social media accounts. Hence, it would be best to quickly secure your email account before all your sensitive and confidential data gets compromised.
You will have to take prompt action before any damage is done. If you need help figuring out where to start, you've come to the right place. This guide will walk you through how exactly you can pinpoint if your email got hacked and what steps you can take to ensure your email accounts are safe and secure. So, without further ado, let's get into it.
The Most Common Signs That Your Email Was Hacked
If you want to be 100% sure that your email account has been hacked, these telltale signs can determine if your email has been hacked. Here are the most common signs that you need to look out for:
#1 – You Can't Sign Into Your Email Account
Hackers will lock you out of your account when they gain unauthorized access to your email account. If your regular email password isn't working, there's a good chance it's been hacked. Hackers change the password immediately to prevent you from logging into your account.
#2 – Different IP Addresses Showing Up On Your Log
Some email providers can reveal your IP address through various tools. So, your IP address gets recorded whenever you log into your email account. If there's someone else who's using your email account, you can check the log of their IP addresses and check who's been using your account. You can see the location, device, and browser type of the person accessing your email.
#3 – Friends & Family Getting Strange Messages From You
If your friends and family tell you they've been getting strange emails and spammy messages from you, it's a surefire sign that your email has been hacked. Cybercriminals can pretend to be you (a trusted source) and try to extract confidential information from friends and relatives. This is also known as a phishing scam.
#4 – You're Getting Password Reset Emails You're Unaware Of
If you're getting password reset emails and don't recall resetting them yourself, there's a hacker on the loose. They're probably trying to gain access to your social media accounts and reset the passwords by using your hacked email.
How Can Your Email Account Get Hacked?
There are various ways that cybercriminals and hackers can gain unauthorized access to your email accounts. Let's go over the main reasons:
#1 – Phishing Scams
A cybercriminal could pose as a trusted source like your friend, colleague, or family member and trick you into divulging personal information such as the password to your emails and other online accounts. Criminals use these social engineering techniques to steal user's data.
#2 – Using Public WiFi
Public networks are the most susceptible to cyberattacks. Public WiFi in cafes or hotels has no security, making it easier for hackers to spy on your data, including the details of your email accounts. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) keeps your connection secure when using public WiFi, making it difficult for cybercriminals to intercept your data.
#3 – Weak Passwords
Using weak passwords or passwords that are easy to guess gives hackers the perfect opportunity to get your email account details and compromise your data. To prevent this, ensure that you're using strong and unique passwords, which would make it difficult for them to infiltrate your online accounts.
#4 – Data Breaches
Hackers can also obtain your email credentials through a data breach. Cybercriminals can also buy the leaked credentials of different users on the dark web. Data breaches are at an all-time high, making top-notch security the need of the hour. If you want to ensure that your credentials aren't leaked on the dark web, there are multiple tools online, like free dark web scans, which will let you check if you're at risk of identity theft, online threats, or account hijacking.
#5 – Hackers Spread Malware To Your Device
Your email accounts can also get compromised if hackers spread Malware to your device. They can use a Phishing scam by enticing you to click on a legitimate link, but it infects your device with Malware. Spyware, Trojans, and Ransomware are common Malware that can spread to your device and compromise sensitive data.
How Can You Prevent Cyber Criminals From Hacking Your Emails?
#1 – Using Strong Passwords & Two Factor Authentication
As mentioned above, a unique and strong email password can easily prevent cybercriminals from gaining unauthorized access. When choosing a strong password, ensure it has an uppercase, lowercase letter, special characters, and numbers. To keep track of all your complex passwords, use a reliable Password Manager. You should add two-factor authentication to your emails and use another email address for secure recovery.
#2 – Trace The Hacker's IP Address From Your Email
A spam or phishing email's sender can be easily identified by observing and inspecting the email's header. By knowing the email header's information, you can easily track down the owner of the email IP address. You can trace IP address from email, giving you valuable insight into the sender's location and identity, thereby exposing them.
#3 – Use A Reliable Antivirus Software
There's no benefit in changing passwords or installing security updates if hackers can still gain access to your account. You should invest in reliable Antivirus software that instantly detects and removes viruses and Malware in real-time. The Antivirus software should be proficient in instantly detecting and removing emerging threats to prevent your email account from getting compromised.
#4 – Use Burner Email Accounts
If you're concerned about a website or online website that feels sketchy and unsafe, then using a burner email account is a safe investment to ensure your email account is not compromised. A burner email account has limited information and does not reveal your identity. When using a burner account, vary when clicking on external links or downloading attachments from different sources.
If your email is hacked, it is time to ring the alarm bells, as your compromised email can have severe consequences for your sensitive and confidential data. If it gets into the wrong hands, then it can result in identity theft and fraud using your personal information. Emails are the perfect avenue for cybercriminals to gather personal information about you.
This guide outlines the most effective ways to detect if your email was hacked and then take timely action to prevent your email accounts from getting hacked. It has outlined the most effective tips and tricks to keep your email accounts safe and secure.