A hacked account is probably an absolute worst-case scenario for all Internet users. But what can you do if your email account has been hacked? We will explain to you what is most important in such a case.

Email has become increasingly important in recent years. Not only newsletters end up in the virtual mailbox, but also booked tickets for travel, information from the tax office or login codes for two-factor authentication.

It's no wonder that the proportion of the population in Germany who uses email has almost doubled in the past 20 years. While 44 percent of the population was in 2002, by 2023 83 percent were already using the Internet to send and receive emails.

Since, among other things, a lot of sensitive data is sent and received here, it is even more annoying if your own mailbox is affected by a cyber attack. If your email account is hacked, you should take these steps.

This is how you can tell if your email account has been hacked

If you already suspect that your email account may have been hacked, it could be due to one of the following points. If, for example, you can no longer log into your account, this often indicates that unauthorized persons have changed your access data.

If this is the case, some providers will notify you about changes to your account. If you have not done this or if a reported login was not yours, this could also indicate a hacked account.

Another indication that you have been affected by a hack could be activity on your account that you did not undertake. This includes, for example, emails that you have read but have not yet clicked on. But outgoing mail could also be affected here.

Sometimes friends and acquaintances may also point out that they have received a strange email from you. This could also indicate that your email account has been hacked.

If you are unsure whether your account is really affected, you can also use a so-called identity leak checker, as the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) advises. Here you can check whether unauthorized parties have published your access data or other data in the event of a leak.

You can do this if you still have access to your account

If you can still access your mailbox, you should try to regain control of your account as quickly as possible. In such a case, the BSI recommends changing the password as quickly as possible. This should be a strong password that you don't use on many other sites.

If you use the same password for another account as you do for your emails, you should also make a change for these providers.

Many online services also allow you to close all active sessions. Your provider will then log you out everywhere and you will have to log in again. This can only be done with your new access data.

If you have taken all of these steps, you should also check your settings, according to the BSI. Particular attention should be paid to automatic forwarding to external accounts.

Your email account has been hacked and you no longer have access

However, if you can no longer log in to your mailbox, you can of course no longer change your password. In such a case, according to the BSI, you should contact your provider and follow their instructions and assistance.

If you use the same password for other providers, you should definitely change it there too. The BSI recommends using a separate password for each account.

If you have logged into other applications with the affected account and are using single sign-on there, you should also inform this provider. It would also be advisable to adjust your login details there.

Until you have access to your email inbox again, you can temporarily set a new email address for all online accounts. You should also inform your contacts not to respond to dubious emails from your account.

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Source: https://www.basicthinking.de/blog/2024/05/09/e-mail-account-gehackt/

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