What To Do if Your Email Has Been In a Breach

Risk Management
January 11, 2023
If your email has been involved in a breach it may leave you feeling helpless and concerned. However, there are a number of steps that you can take to recover and protect your email and the information that it holds. Read on to learn more!

What To Do if Your Email Has Been In a Breach?

Email addresses getting breached is increasingly becoming popular as hackers try different means to scam users. When your email address is hacked, personal or company data can be leaked online. Cybercriminals can also use your email password to access your social media accounts and post malicious posts or links that can damage your image.

You should use Accountable HQ’S software to avoid such embarrassment and prevent your email from being breached. Our software notifies you or employees when their email has been breached or compromised. 

But what can you do when your email address is already breached?

1. Change Your Password

The first thing you need to do after your email has been compromised is change the password. Remember, hackers mostly rely on malware to get your email passwords. They can then use it to scam your friends, employees, employers, or family members. Make sure you change the password to deny the hackers access to your vital information. 

When changing your password, use a stronger one that's easy to remember but not related to you or someone close to you. Consider changing the reused password on other accounts, as these criminals can use the same password to access your payment details or important data. 

But there are instances when the hackers succeed in changing the email password before you. In such a case, you can restore your email account using the ‘forgot password” function. This is also a good time to explore other log-in security methods like two-factor authentication. 

2. Notify Your Contacts

If you use our software to protect your email, you’ll get a notification whenever there’s suspicious activity going on. When you get this notification, the first thing to do is notify your friends and colleagues. Send emails to the contacts in your email contact list about the hacking. Warn them not to open any links or give out their vital information.

3. Change Your Security Questions 

You might be required to answer security questions when recovering your email account. If you still have access to the account, change the type of security question to access your account. Changes these to questions that are more challenging or contain information that the hackers would not have known. 

It's advisable to use hard-to-guess questions that can’t also be found online. Questions to avoid are ones like your mother’s maiden name or pets. For such questions, the hacker can check on your social media accounts or get them from your stored data. Instead, use fictitious information and special characters in your answers to confuse the hackers.

4. Check for Any Compromised Data

You also need to check for compromised data. If you get notifications of breaches, read them and take the necessary steps. You can also notice hacking when your email account sends spam to various accounts. 

In this case, your account can have bounceback emails or automatic responses despite not sending any messages. If you are sure your account is being used to spam other accounts, follow the right steps to secure it.

5. Turn on the Two-Step Verification 

You should also turn on two-step verification to give the hackers a hard time accessing your email. Two-step verification requires a username, password, biometrics, or a temporary code sent to your phone to access the email address. When the hacker can't get the code, they will not manage to access your email. 

6. Scan for Malware

You should also scan for any malware on your devices. Scanning the devices helps identify the problem and closes the loopholes scammers use to access the account. Remember, when your email account is hacked with viruses, it will be easier to access your data even after changing passwords or settings. Additionally, your devices will become slower and have unknown apps. 

Scanning the phone or computer will prevent hackers from accessing your new password. Scan for viruses before changing your passwords after the email has been hacked. But if you scan for the virus after changing passwords, consider changing them again.

7. Change Your Email Account Settings

After your email address has been in breach, change the settings. This will prevent the hackers from sending automated messages containing malware or phishing scams. Also, look for any alarming activity on your email account, like having your signature with an unfamiliar link. 

8. Authenticate the Apps, Videos, or Games

If your email has been in breach, it could be that your apps, games, or videos were not legitimate. When you download an illegitimate app or video that has malicious links or files attached, it leaves your devices vulnerable to hacking. 

Before downloading any game or video, check if it's pirated. You should also avoid free apps, which can contain malware. Ensure you download content with good reviews to your devices to be safer from hacking.

9. Install Antivirus and Update Your Operating System

You must protect your email account from hacking by installing updated antivirus software. Antivirus software will prevent viruses or spyware from stealing crucial personal data and passwords. Also, ensure your operating system is up-to-date to protect your account from further hacking. 

Since most software vendors update them, you should turn on automatic updates. Having automated software updates will prevent hackers from finding ways to reach your email account.

10. Watch Out for Phishing, Scams, and Spam

Hackers also target unsuspecting email account owners by sending them spam and scams. Phishing scams can cost you a lot after customers/clients trust you with their private data. If by bad luck, you fall into the trap of the hackers by clicking on the link they send, you can lose money. So, avoid links claiming to be from reputable companies that request you to authenticate your information online. 

Also, avoid the messages offering you money from strange accounts, as those are scams waiting for your response and infecting your phone or computer. You can protect your devices from spam by installing updated antivirus software. 

11. Partner with Accountable HQ

If you don’t want your organization's crucial data to be hacked, partner with Accountable HQ to work on your data security and privacy. Our software will notify you and your employers if their email has been hacked. Once you get the software, make sure you check for any compromised data on your notifications to identify any breaches.

Compliance Managment Full Hexagon logo

Expert compliance support, on-demand

Accountable Compliance Success Managers are dedicated to making sure your company is fully compliant as we guide you step-by-step through the process of achieving HIPAA compliance.
Expert guidance
Build trust
Dedicated Compliance Success Managers
HIPAA Training
Decrease risk
Close more deals