What to Do if Your Email is Hacked

March 8th · 10 min read

Rotem Tal - Senior Cybersecurity Expert |Writer & Editor|
Rotem Tal - Senior Cybersecurity Expert |Writer & Editor|

The invisible threat: Immediate actions to secure your hacked email

In the vast and often shadowy depths of the internet, your email is more than just a tool for daily chats — it's a vault holding a lot of personal information and private conversations. Just think of all those emails from your bank, government offices, schools, and shops - your inbox is packed with stuff that matters to you. This is without even mentioning that your email address itself is often the main key to getting into other online accounts.

Imagine what would happen if your personal digital safe – email – was breached? It’s basically like having your home broken into and ransacked: a personal violation with potentially devastating consequences. Fear and stress are probably the most natural reactions, but if you want to restore your online security, it’s important to take immediate action. That’s where online security tools like Guardio come in handy. Guardio’s browser extension and mobile app block scam attempts from taking over your account and alerts you before anything shady can even happen.

There were 300,497 email attacks reported to the FBI last year.

In this article, we'll delve into the shadowy depths of hacked email accounts, and unravel the tricks and tactics cybercriminals use to breach your privacy. We'll outline the potential consequences of these breaches and arm you with the critical know-how to secure a hacked email account and reclaim your digital privacy. For the grand finale, we’ll show you how you can transform from a victim to a savvy online warrior with Guardio's browser extension and mobile app.

Let’s get this party started!

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Why risk it? Use Guardio's browser extension and mobile app to keep your email secure!

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What to do when your email is breached

On a sunny Thursday morning in June, Emily, a 28-year-old entrepreneur with an online boutique, woke up to a digital nightmare. She discovered that her email had been hacked. As she realized that she couldn't access her email or social media accounts, her thriving business, supported by a strong social media presence, was suddenly at risk.

The hacker didn't stop at just hijacking her accounts. They went on a digital rampage, sending out bizarre, offensive posts from her Instagram and Twitter, tarnishing the brand she had lovingly built. But the worst was yet to come. Her credit card information, stored in her email for business transactions, had been compromised as well. Charges racked up at lightning speed, with purchases ranging from high-end electronics to extravagant, untraceable online donations.

So how did this happen, you might be asking yourselves. It was Emily's habit never to share her passwords, and she always had the latest antivirus software installed. As it turned out, the culprit was a well-crafted phishing email that appeared to come from her web hosting service asking for her account information. The link in the email led to a fake website, and in a moment of haste, Emily entered her credentials, unknowingly handing over the keys to her digital kingdom.

Protecting your email after a phishing attack

Although Emily eventually regained control of her accounts thanks to the relentless efforts of cybersecurity experts and the support of her followers, the damage had already been done. Her online reputation suffered, and it took months to rebuild the trust of her customers. The financial loss was significant, but the emotional toll was even greater.

Emily's story serves as a stark reminder that, in a world where our digital presence is as real as our physical one, the importance of cybersecurity can never be understated. She now uses Guardio's browser extension and mobile app, which gives her an extra layer of security. Nowadays, being cautious online is more than a practice, it’s a necessity.

How does an email get hacked?

Understanding how your email account can get hacked is crucial. So, grab your pen and paper – we're about to delve into a list of key methods that your email could end up in the wrong hands.

1. Phishing scams: We’ve written plenty of articles about phishing scams, but as a refresher. Phishing scams are when hackers skillfully craft emails that mimic legitimate brands, luring you into providing sensitive information such as your email password. These scams can be exceptionally convincing, utilizing social engineering techniques to manipulate victims.

2. Data breaches: Your email credentials might be compromised in a data breach, especially if you reuse passwords across multiple accounts. Hackers often sell stolen passwords on the dark web, increasing the risk of your account being hacked.

3. Risks of public PCs and devices: Failing to log out from your email account on a public PC can leave your credentials vulnerable. Additionally, public PCs might be infected with malware or spyware, further compromising your email security.

4. Unsecured public Wi-Fi networks: Using open Wi-Fi networks in places like coffee shops or airports poses a significant risk. These networks often lack adequate security, making it easy for hackers to intercept your email details. To mitigate this risk, stick to trusted, password-protected networks or use a VPN for a secure connection.

5. Weak and predictable passwords: Simple or guessable passwords can be easily cracked by hackers. Opt for strong, unique passwords with a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers. A password manager can assist in creating and managing complex passwords.

6. Lack of online security software: You wouldn’t drive a car without wearing a seat belt, would you? Then why on earth would you navigate the shady online world without security software? Not having effective security software is akin to leaving your digital door wide open.

Guardio fills this gap with its powerful browser extensions and mobile app, offering an extra layer of protection. These tools not only block malicious sites and phishing attempts but also provide real-time alerts for any suspicious activity. Guardio ensures your email and other online activities are safeguarded against various cyber threats.

 Image of a computer screen displaying an email inbox with a shield

This is how Guardio keeps your inbox safe from being and blocks phishing attacks:

- Real-time protection: Sends immediate notifications when malicious emails bypass your email provider’s security, keeping your personal information safe.

- Inbox monitoring: Actively scans new emails in your inbox, including promotions and update tabs, for any potential threats.

- Comprehensive scanning: Identifies various risks such as phishing attempts, emails from fake senders, or those leading to malicious downloads.

- Proactive defense: By alerting users of dangerous emails, it prevents the risk of interacting with malware or falling victim to phishing.

- Enhanced email security: Offers peace of mind by ensuring that emails in your inbox are safe, reducing the likelihood of identity theft or financial loss.

- Sophisticated detection: Targets emails that use advanced tactics to trick users into divulging sensitive information, thereby safeguarding against sophisticated scams.

Remember, Guardio doesn’t only block malicious emails, it also alerts you before you even open them, providing an essential layer of security against evolving email threats.

Protect your inbox from online threats

Install Guardio's browser extension & mobile app and be assured that your email is always secure!

How can I tell if my email was hacked?

As we’ve mentioned before, when hackers gain access to your email address, they unlock a Pandora's box of potential malicious activities. They can impersonate you to scam your contacts, access other personal accounts linked to your email through password resets, and extract sensitive information like bank details or private conversations. This information can be used for identity theft, financial fraud, or even sold on the dark web.

Moreover, they can use your email for spamming or launching phishing attacks on a broader scale, turning your account into a tool for further cybercrimes. The implications of email hacking extend far beyond unauthorized access—it can lead to a cascading effect of security breaches across various aspects of your digital life. So when it comes to your email security, staying alert is key. Here's a friendly heads-up on how to spot if your email account might have fallen into the wrong hands:

Check your sent messages: Ever find emails in your 'Sent' folder that you don't remember sending? It's a classic sign that a hacker might be using your account to send out spam or phishing emails.

Password problems: If your trusty password suddenly stops working, it's a big red flag. It could mean someone else has gotten into your account and changed your password.

Weird warnings from your email provider: Keep an eye out for any unusual activity alerts from your email service. They're like your digital watchdog, barking when something seems off, like logins from new locations or devices.

Inbox full of odd emails: Random password reset emails from other services that you didn't ask for? That's suspicious and could indicate someone's trying to access your other accounts.

Settings seem changed?: If your account settings or personal info have been altered without your knowledge, it's time to take action. Hackers often change these to lock you out or hide their tracks.

Are friends getting spammy emails from you?: If your pals are getting weird emails from your account that you didn't send, it's a classic symptom of hacking.

Remember, these are your early warning signals. Catching these signs on time can make a huge difference in safeguarding your digital life.

Best practices for hacked email protection

If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having your email hacked, don't panic. Here's how to respond to a hacked email guide:

- Password change: First things first, change that email password. Make it strong, unique, and totally different from the one you had before. Think of it like getting a new lock for your door after a break-in.

- Update security Q&A: Take a moment to refresh your security questions and answers. It's like changing the code to your safe – you don't want the hacker to have easy access again.

- Check email settings: Hackers are sneaky. They might have left a forwarding address in your email settings. It's like leaving a backdoor open, so make sure to close it.

- Alert friends and family: Let your contacts know what happened. It's like telling your neighbors to ignore the stranger claiming to be you.

- Review account activity: Check your email logs. It’s like looking for footprints in your virtual backyard to see where the hacker might have wandered.

- Secure other accounts: Change passwords on your other accounts, especially if they share the same password. It's like reinforcing the locks on all your doors, not just the front one.

- Use multi-factor authentication (MFA): While two-factor authentication used to be the buzz, now hackers have found a way around that too. That’s why MFA is a total paradigm shift. If 2FA was like adding an alarm to your house, MFA is like adding a security camera to your front door – an extra layer of protection.

- Keep an eye on finances: If your emails have bank details, watch your accounts like a hawk for any odd transactions.

- Reach out to your email provider: Let them know what happened. They’re like the neighborhood watch who can help you out.

- Security software: I recommend something like Guardio’s browser extension and mobile app. It’s like having a guard dog for your online presence, always ready to bark at potential threats.

Protecting over 1.5 million users’ email accounts from being hacked

“I love the heads-up Guardio provides me, I have had so many issues with scam sites when just browsing on the internet. It is hard to trust anything anymore...but Guardio lets me know right away if there is anything suspicious or dangerous, and I quickly leave the site. I appreciate the protection it provides.” Weezer Condrey

“I always feel protected while on the internet. Recently I experienced a couple of potentially malicious attacks & Guardio was there to foil those plans. Thank you to all who make these moments for customers like myself possible.” Phill G.

The bottom line

The digital world, while full of opportunities, is also rife with invisible threats that can compromise our privacy and security. As this article vividly illustrates through the story of Emily and the detailed breakdown of how email hacking occurs, the consequences of a breached email account can be severe and far-reaching. However, there's a silver lining: being informed and proactive can significantly mitigate these risks.

By understanding the methods hackers use, recognizing the signs of a compromised email, and following the best practices for protection, we can create a more secure digital environment for ourselves. Incorporating tools like Guardio's browser extension and mobile app adds an extra layer of defense, making it more challenging for cybercriminals to breach your digital fortress.

In the end, the key to safeguarding our digital lives lies in awareness, education, and the right security tools. Don’t be a passive observer but an active participant in protecting your digital sphere. As always, stay secure, alert and browse safely!

Protect your inbox from online threats

Install Guardio's browser extension & mobile app and be assured that your email is always secure!

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