Email accounts may be one of the internet’s oldest innovations, harking back to the days of dial-up connections in the nineties, but they still very much have their place and are widely used in the smartphone world.
Making full use of your device’s functions often involves signing in to create and account, and it’s your email address that is used to do this. But what happens if your email address gets hacked, and someone else gains access to it? We take a look at how best to handle this.
What does it mean to be hacked?
If your email account is hacked, it means that someone else has managed to get into it, probably by discovering your password. This can be done in a number of ways, and many such attacks are automated by malicious software programmes that target thousands or even millions of email accounts at a time.
Having gained access, your account may then be used to send out spam emails containing links to disreputable websites or even more malicious software.
How to tell if your account has been hacked
If your friends get in touch to tell you that they’ve had some strange emails from you, then the chances are your email account has been hacked.
Regularly checking your sent messages folder is wise, as anything that goes from your account will appear here. You can also keep an eye out for any messages that come back to your account saying that they can’t be delivered. If they weren’t emails that you sent yourself, then its a good sign you’ve been hacked.
What to do
The biggest and best piece of advice is to change your password, since this often fixes the problem. In more serious cases it is possible that you may be locked out of your account, in which case your email provider should offer instructions as to how to get in touch with them to sort the problem out.
While you’re changing one password, why not change all of them? Regularly using different passwords is a good way to keep yourself safe online, so have a root through your phone and change your details on Facebook, Twitter and other apps. Its a boring process, but well worth a few minutes of your time.
When you’ve created all these new passwords, do your best to simply remember all of them rather than writing them down. If you do write them down, don’t save them all in one place, as you’re putting yourself at risk again. In fact, there are plenty of apps which will help you to store your login details securely, so take a look at our rundown of the best.