Help prevent your email accounts from being hacked
We’ve had a lot of support calls recently where the
person’s email or other account has been hacked. In the case of email
accounts, the hackers have copied the person’s contact list and is
sending spam messages out to the contacts and forging their name and
email address. After their account got hacked, people usually ask us how
it happened. Below are usual ways that hackers are able to access
1. Guessing an insecure password to access your
2. Guessing the answer to your account security
question, then resetting the password so that the account can be
3. Insecure web site databases are being hacked and
the usernames and passwords are being used to log into accounts at the
different web sites. For example, here’s a common scenario that could
happen to you:
You register for an account at xyzrecipes.com so
that you can get recipes on their website. To make it easy to remember,
you simply use the same email address and password that you use to
access your email. A few weeks later a hacker breaks into the
xyzrecipes.com user database and copies all the information. The hacker
then tries to access your email account using the same password that you
used to register or login at xyzrecipes.com. If it’s the same password,
they login and now have access to your email account, make a copy of
your contact list and send spam messages to your contacts that look like
they’re coming from you.
4. Sending an official-looking email asking for email
login credentials. (See sample below)
What you should do if you’ve been hacked, and
tips to prevent being hacked.
If your email account was hacked, immediately change
your password. Below are a few things you can do to help prevent your
email account(s) from being hacked.
1. Use a password system/pattern so that you have a
unique memorable password for each web site. I
recommend putting part of the letters of the website in the password.
creating secure memorable passwords.)
2. Change your email password ASAP – remember to use a
unique password with a combination of UPPERCASE and lowercase letters
and numbers. (If your email address is the master account for AT&T DSL
service, see note below*)
3. If the account has a password reset question (or
account security question – ASQ), make sure that the answer to your
question is something that a hacker would not know or easily guess.
4. Secure your email account with 2-step verification.
This is an extra security measure offered by email providers such as
* Note: If your email address is the master account
for an AT&T DSL account, before changing your email password you need to
call AT&T DSL at 877-722-3755 and have them give you your network
password to program into your DSL modem or router before changing your
password. Otherwise you could lose your connection to the internet.
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