According to the Radicati Email Statistics Report, there are more than 3 billion email users globally. Email has become a mainstream mode of communication. Your email address is the virtual equivalent of your residential address. Email users receive an average of 88 messages a day. This makes email accounts an attractive target for hackers and other cybercriminals.
Email addresses have evolved so much to the extent that they are no longer used for messaging purposes only. Nowadays, you are required to provide your email address almost everywhere, be it when signing a visitors’ book, or joining a social media platform. Chances are that cybercriminals may come across your email address, and decide to use it to access your personal information or even steal your money. Here are some signs that you are a victim of an email hack.
A Changed Password
Arguably, this is the most obvious indicator of an email hack. A changed password means that you cannot access your emails. It shows that your account is hacked, and you can no longer access it using the same password. This can be a panic-inducing moment, especially if you have sensitive personal information in your email folders.
If this happens, you should first ascertain that you are using the correct password. In case login problems persist, initiate password recovery. However, known password recovery methods may not work, more so if you can’t access your secondary recovery device or email, or the scammers reroute the recovery information. In this case, the remaining option is to contact customer service to report the email hack incident.
Unexpected Password Reset Notifications
If you receive an unexpected password reset notification, chances are that you are a target for email hack scammers. You should always be on the lookout for password change emails that you didn’t request in the first place. Often, such password resets are requested by attackers in an attempt to identify the shopping sites, banks, or payment platforms that you use.
Apart from unexpected password reset emails, you should also be wary of suspicious calls claiming to be from your payment service provider or bank asking for personal details such as PIN codes and passwords. Often, perpetrators of email hack scams follow up their activities with phone calls requesting further personal information from you.
Strange Emails in the Sent Folder
Sometimes, email hackers can allow you to still access your mailbox after taking over your account. Such cybercriminals do so because they want to use your address to send spam emails or gather more of your data while hiding their illicit activities from you.
If you suspect that you are the victim of an Email Hack incident, check out your sent folder to see whether there are any emails that you don’t recall sending. You should mainly be keen on mass emails sent to your contact. However, a smart attacker is likely to delete any sent emails to cover his/her tracks. Therefore, it’s difficult to tell if your email address was used to send out something without your knowledge.
Strange IP Addresses, Browsers, and Devices
Most email service providers allow users to monitor login activities as well as IP addresses and locations from where their accounts were accessed. Users also get to see devices and browsers that were used to access their accounts. If you notice that unrecognizable devices were used to access your email address, or your account was accessed from an unknown location, you could be a victim of an email hack incident.
After realizing that your email has been tampered with, you should take immediate action. This will go a long way in minimizing the damage besides preventing similar issues from happening again. Your first course of action should be a change of login credentials. Use a new and unique password to secure your account.
Two-factor authentication can also help you secure your email account. Most email service providers offer the option of a two-step login process, which requires you to provide additional information to access your account. This is an effective way of delaying attacks or thwarting them altogether. When you regain your account after an email hack attempt, you should double-check its recovery information.
This entails confirming that you recognize all the listed recovery phone numbers and email addresses. If you don’t recognize the phone numbers or email addresses, you should change them immediately. In case you are unable to recover your email, consider setting up a new account. While at it, update all the other accounts that you have so that they use the new email address.
Sometimes, you fall victim to email hacks simply because you failed to monitor activities on your email accounts. To stay apprised with what happens in all your accounts and devices, do not hesitate to leverage NuEduSEC's Device Tracking and Management Portal. The platform is designed to protect you from cyber-attacks that get perpetrated via email.