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What to Do if You Think You’ve Been Hacked

In today’s digital world, one concern many people have is being hacked. Hackers may hijack your Facebook account and spam your friends or steal your email information and attempt to extort money from your friends by pretending they’re you in need of help. If someone hacks your accounts, it can feel as violating as someone breaking into your home and took your stuff. Although you can’t call the police the way you would for a break-in, there are steps you can take to regain control of your accounts.

Raise the Alarm

Here’s the good news; the digital giants (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, etc.) don’t want your information stolen either. In fact, if you get locked out of your account, it may be because they sensed suspicious activity and froze the account on your behalf. So, if you suspect you’ve been hacked, your first step is to alert them. Do a quick search “report Facebook hack” to learn how, but be careful! Hackers also set up malicious sites for reporting in an attempt to steal your information, so be sure the URL is hosted on the correct domain and doesn’t look funny.

Change Passwords

As soon as you can log in, change all your passwords. This will prevent the hacker from being able to get back in. A few tips: don’t reuse an old password, and if you’re using the same password on multiple accounts (you shouldn’t, but the reality is there are too many sites with unique logins, and people do) change it everywhere, you use that password. Also, search around within your account to see where else you’re logged in. Many services will call this a session. Once you find it, spend a few minutes looking through your open sessions and close any you don’t recognize.

Set Up Security Checks

Once you’ve recovered from this, you don’t want it to happen again- To prevent future hackers, set up some security. One of the easiest is to switch to two-step verification for logging in. This means when you log in from somewhere new (a new IP address), a code will be sent to your phone via text and must be entered before login can proceed.

In addition, run a virus scan to look for malware or other viruses that may have either been left behind by or been the doorway for the hacker. Lastly, if your email was hacked, check for filters you didn’t set up and delete them.

One final note: if one account has been compromised, play it safe and assume they all were. It may cause you some extra work and stress in the short-term, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you protected your data.

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