It can ruin your day, finding out that someone without your knowledge has been accessing your email. You can take your account back, however, and prevent hackers from further violating your privacy. For indications that your account has indeed been hijacked, check your password. Enlist the support of your Internet Service Provider if desired. Change your email password and make it strong, above all else.
Before taking other steps, it never hurts to make sure that your account was actually hacked. For starters, open your email app and look over your messages carefully. Pay attention to the read/unread status and see if messages have been read that you don’t remember reading. Examine the Sent folder contents and look for messages you didn’t send. Forwarded messages in particular are helpful, as they might have the culprit’s email address as the destination. The Deleted folder may also give you clues pointing to hacking activity.
Some of the various email services, such as Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft, have a feature that lets you check who’s been accessing your email; this is typically referred to as the “Recent Activity” page. When you view this page, you’ll see information such as the date, the user’s operating system, mobile device type, and the Internet Protocol (IP) address — a number used to identify devices on the internet. If you notice information that doesn’t seem to be yours, this could be evidence of outside hacking.
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Examine your computer for unusual gadgets that might be plugged into one of the USB ports. A device called a “keylogger” monitors all your keyboard activity, including passwords, saving it in a hidden file, or sending it to the culprit over the internet. Though keyloggers are not common, it is worth the minute or so to check the computer. Keyloggers can also take the form of malware programs on your PC, so a good anti-malware scan is also recommended.
Look for unusual computer activity. While the cause of computer problems can range from temperature to a corrupted hard drive, the following may indicate that your computer was hacked: Your computer’s password no longer works your computer’s settings have changed drastically without your inputFile contents have been changed some of your external devices (such as cameras, microphones, or GPS devices) seem to be powered on even when you are not using it.
Look for other standard hacker malware. Here are some other things that might occur when hacked: Browser toolbars which you didn’t add appear random and frequent pop-ups appear on your computer, even when not using a browser system or browser settings have been reset to their defaults, or they’re using settings that you didn’t implement.
Check for intruders on your Wi-Fi network. Both Windows and Mac computers come with built-in ways to determine whether or not your Wi-Fi network is entertaining extra guests:
Windows: Open Start, Type in view network computers and devices click View network computers and devices look for unusual items (the “ROUTER” item is your Wi-Fi router).
Mac: Open Finder or click the desktop. Click Go Click Network
On a Website
- Attempt to log into your account. Go to the login page for the account that you suspect was hacked and attempt to log in with your email address/username/phone number and password. If your account password won’t work and you didn’t change your password, look for a password reset email from the account. You can usually reset your password and secure your account from such an email. Unfortunately, if you can’t log into your account and your email address isn’t accessible, the only thing that you can do is report the account as hacked to the company or service to which the account belongs.
- Look for irregular activity on your account. Irregular activity may include anything from messages or posts that you didn’t create to radically different account settings. On social media, you may also find that you’re following different accounts or that your bio has changed.
- Pay attention to any recent messages. On platforms like Facebook, a common hacking method involves a friend “sending” a link to you; if you click the link, it will be forwarded from your messenger to other friends or contacts on the platform. If you see people responding to you even though you didn’t send a message, you may have been hacked. Avoid clicking links from anyone you don’t trust and verify the contents of links with people you do trust before opening the links.
- Check the “Have I Been Pwned” website. This website hosts a list of sites that have had their information stolen over recent years. Go to https://haveibeenpwned.com/PwnedWebsites and scroll through the list of websites there; if you see a website on which you have an account, look at the details of the hack. If the hack took place well-before you created your account, you’re probably fine. If the hack took place any time after you created your account, change your password for the website and any connected services (e.g., your email address) immediately. A staggeringly large number of high-profile websites such as Sony and Comcast are on the “Have I Been Pwned” list, so the chances that you have at least one potentially compromised account are high.
- Prevent future complications. To both avoid getting hacked in the future and minimize the damage if you do get hacked, consider doing the following: Enable 2-factor authentication (which verifies that you’re logging into your account by sending a text message to your phone) on any available platforms. Never use the same password twice (e.g., use a different password for each of your accounts). Change your password immediately if you ever accidentally leave your account logged in on a shared computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Method 3: Viewing Signed-in Apple Locations
- Open the Apple ID website. Go to https://appleid.apple.com/ in your computer’s web browser. From this site, you can see a list of items on which you’re signed in to your Apple ID. If you see an option that you don’t recognize, you can sign out of it and then change your password.
- Log into your Apple ID account. Enter your Apple ID email address and password in the text fields that are in the middle of the page, then press
- Verify your login. Depending on your account settings, you’ll either have to answer a security question or use your iPhone to retrieve a 2-factor authentication code.
- Scroll down to the “Devices” section. You’ll find this option near the bottom of the page.
- Review the list of sign-in locations. In the “Devices” section, you’ll see a list of places (e.g., computers, smartphones, etc.) in which you've logged into your Apple ID.
- Sign out of a platform. if you don’t recognize a location here, you can sign out of your Apple ID on the platform by clicking the location’s name and then clicking Remove in the resulting drop-down menu.
- Change your password. If you had to sign out of an unknown platform, you should change your Apple ID password immediately. This will prevent future hacking. Be sure to use a password that’s unique to your Apple ID.
Method 4: Viewing Signed-in Google Locations
- Open your Google account page. Go to https://myaccount.google.com/ in your computer’s web browser. This method allows you to see a list of places where your Google account is currently signed in. If you see an option that you don’t recognize, you can sign out of the account and change your password.
- Click Device activity & security events. You’ll find this link below the “Sign-in & security” heading on the left side of the page. If you aren’t logged into your Google account, you’ll be prompted to log in before you can proceed.
- Click REVIEW DEVICES. It’s on the right side of the page, just below the “Recently used devices” heading.
- Review your login locations. Each item on this page is a location on which you’re signed in to your Google account.
- Sign out of a platform. If you see a platform that you don’t recognize (e.g., a computer), click the platform’s name, click the red REMOVE button, and click REMOVE when prompted.
- Change your password. If you had to sign out of an unknown platform, you should change your Google account password immediately. This will prevent future hacking. Be sure to use a password that’s unique to your Google account.
Viewing Signed-in Facebook Locations
- Open Facebook. Go to https://www.facebook.com/ in your computer’s web browser. This will open your Facebook News Feed if you’re logged in. If you aren’t logged in, enter your Facebook email address and password before proceeding. This method allows you to see a list of places where your Facebook account is currently signed in. If you see an option that you don’t recognize, you can sign out of the account and change your password.
- Click the “Menu” icon. It’s a triangle on the upper-right side of the page. A drop-down menu will appear. On some browsers, this icon resembles a gear instead.
- Click Settings. It’s in the drop-down menu.
- Click Security and Login. You’ll find this tab on the upper-left side of the page.
- Click See More. It’s at the bottom of the “Where You’re Logged In” section. Doing so brings up a list of all of the locations in which you've logged into your Facebook account.
- Review the login locations. Each of the platforms and locations listed here pertains to a specific Facebook login.
- Sign out of a platform. If you see an unfamiliar login location, click ⋮ to the right of the location and click Log Out. You can also click Not You? and follow the on-screen prompts to report the incident to Facebook.
- Change your password. If you had to sign out of an unknown platform, you should change your Facebook account password immediately. This will prevent future hacking. Be sure to use a password that’s unique to your Facebook account.