I’ve Been Hacked!

By EssentialsMAG tech contributor DAVID HUGHES

These are the words you never want to say, so I thought it might be useful to run through the steps you should take if you know, or suspect, you’ve been hacked.

Step 1:
It’s difficult but… don’t panic!

Hackers thrive on panicked targets. It’s important to try and maintain a level head, and deal with the situation logically. Some damage has already occurred; you now need to limit it.

Be extra vigilant when it comes to your email. If you receive an email that seems legitimate (a password reset, for example), don’t click on any links within it unless you know why you have received it.

Step 2:
Limit financial damage.

If you believe your payment information may have been compromised - like an Amazon account, or your online banking directly, contact your bank immediately to get them to suspend the account or cards.

You should be able to find the contact details you need via Google. In the case of Amazon and other similar sites, they should deal with cancelling of any fraudulent orders.

Step 3:
Change your passwords.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s important NOT to reuse the same password for multiple online services. However, we all do. (Yes, me too sometimes!). So if your hacked account shares a password with other services, make sure you change that password immediately, wherever you think it has been used.

For ultimate peace-of-mind, speaking generally now, I would recommend using Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), at least on accounts for which you have a linked payment method. This makes your accounts very difficult to hack. Google ‘2FA’ if you’re unsure what it is, but I will try and cover it in a future article.

Step 4:
Remain vigilant.

Being hacked is a horrible experience. With more and more of our lives moving online, it’s difficult not to see a hack as anything other than a violation.

In the real world, we mitigate against loss every day: we lock our houses and cars, use security systems, and we don’t divulge sensitive information to complete strangers. These things are sensible and automatic.

By transferring this thinking to the online world in the form of using a different password for each service you use (like a different key for every lock), using Two-Factor Authentication wherever possible (like a security system), and thinking before you click on a suspicious link (you get where I’m going), you increase your chances of never experiencing a hack.

EssentialsMAG tech contributor is David Hughes a web developer.
Tel: 07595 303418

Victoria Lee