Secure hacked accounts and devices

Are your passwords not working, files disappearing or have you noticed new programs on your computer that you didn’t put there? If you have a suspicion that someone may have access to your personal information, you will need to take some safety measures.

Scan your device

Run a scan for malware and spyware that could be on your device. Malware and spyware can be used to steal sensitive information, duplicate files or even see the keystrokes used when you type. Even if your device has security software on it that automatically scans for malicious activity, you will still want to take extra precaution.

Doing a malware and spyware scan manually can be difficult to perform and hard to remember. There are programs available that can help manually scan your computer for malicious software for you like Norton Security.

Reset your passwords

You’ll need to reset all of your passwords. If you can’t get into an account and the password recovery option doesn’t work, make sure to contact that company as soon as possible to report that you’ve been hacked. When making your new passwords, be sure to stray away from making some common mistakes:

  • Creating a password that has only letters.
  • Using a password that uses less than 10 characters.
  • Only putting numbers and symbols at the end of your password.
  • Using commonly used words, like love, when creating your password.
  • Creating a password using your name and only one number or symbol.
  • Using easily guessed pop cultural or personal information for a password.
  • Creating a password that uses number or letter patterns, such as "123" or "abc".
  • Using obvious symbol for letter replacements, like the "@" symbol in place of an "a".

Tip - Using a password manager like LastPass helps to securely keep track of all your passwords. This can be helpful when making new passwords and creating passwords that are harder to guess.

Two-factor authentication

Additional authentication options are offered on most websites and is a great way to protect your accounts. They require you to provide a second form of identification in addition to your username and password. This authentication adds an extra step when logging in to your accounts but is well worth it because it makes it almost impossible for someone other than you to replicate.

Verify account information

You should always verify that your account details are correct on your social media accounts, email addresses, shopping websites and billing websites. Make sure your shipping address, billing address, personal details and settings have not been changed. You will also want to check social media for recent posts and messages that may not have been sent by you.