Over the last year we have been getting more and more reports from people whose Hotmail/Yahoo!/Gmail email account has been hacked or hijacked.
In many cases the account has been used to send spam or phishing emails to random addresses or to your own Contacts list stored in the webmail system.
The hackers may have gone as far asking your friends and family to send money via Western Union money transfer to help you get home from a mystery holiday in the UK.
Sometimes users can get access with their own password; other times they need to go through a lengthy recovery process to get back their email account.
How to recover your webmail account:
Most major email providers have online forms you need to fill out to progress through to recover your account:
- Gmail Account Recovery Form
- Hotmail/WindowsLive Account Hijack
- Hotmail Help Centre
- Yahoo! Account Hijacked
If you rely on your email we would advise you to take steps to secure your account by linking it with a mobile phone number or alternative email address.
You can also chose to only login over a secured connection, that uses an https:// web address (look for a padlock icon)
Remember to use information for your secret/reminder questions that you do not publish online on your Facebook profile or other sites
Prevention is better than cure
Most accounts are hacked for one of three reasons:
- You did not secure your account with a strong password and a ‘dictionary attack’ allowed the hackers quick access
- Your computer or another computer you used to access your emails was infected with malware or a virus or
- You fell victim to a ‘phishing’ email that exposed your login details to cybercriminals
Follow the NetBasics and keep your computer secure
Watch our short online videos about basic computer security. They explain how to keep your PC protected against viruses, how to pick a strong password for every different website you use and how to avoid phishing emails.