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Hacking and Viruses

Hacking is the unauthorised modification of the contents of any computer. This includes individual/business e-mail accounts and social media. If you suspect that one or several of your online accounts has been hacked, don't panic! Follow these steps:

1) Change your password

Computer 2 blueThe two most desired pieces of information by hackers are your email address and password. This is due to the fact that  most people commonly use the same two details across many websites, meaning the same two lines of text can unlock several different accounts.

If you change your password, the value of your email address is significantly lessened. Make sure you use unique passwords for each account and make them complex with numbers, letters and special characters.

Try using 3 random words. One idea is to think of a phrase that only you know and make it be related to a particular website to help you remember it.

2) Reclaim your accounts

Every major online service offers a means to recover your account once it has been compromised.

To ensure the protection of your personal data, you should follow this process for every account that's related to a hacked email address or password.

3) Alert your friends that you've been hacked

To keep your friends and family safe, email everyone in your contact list to let them know you've been hacked.

If your friends or family have ever been hacked, you'll likely discover this via a poorly written mass email featuring a phishing link, make sure they know and take action by checking their accounts and follow these tips.

4) Keep an eye on your bank account

In the worst case scenario, a hacker will use your email address and password to access the credit card details of those accounts they're linked to.

Any purchases will show up on your bank statements, so be sure to notify the relevant parties if anything suspicious does turn up.

5) Scan your computer for malware

Assuming your email has been breached, it's safe to assume your computer might be infected with malware too. To eradicate this problem, use pre-installed software or a free alternative.

This should also pick up any keystroke software installed on your computer to discern any extra passwords you may use.

You should use a quality anti-virus system to help identify and protect against the problem.

To prevent future attacks, always keep your devices up to date and install the developer's updates as soon as possible.

Never open email attachments from unknown senders.

There is plenty of information on Get Safe Online to help protect your computer.