An email security breach can be distressing, especially if hackers are using your information to send malicious attachments to family, friends or colleagues. Signs that you’ve been hacked include: if your contacts are receiving messages not sent by you, if your online password stops working, or if you’ve noticed slow, erratic performance from your computer or device.

If you have been hacked; don’t panic, it’s important to act quickly to regain control and protect your online security in the future. If you’ve been the victim of an email hack, here’s what to do next.

Change your credentials

The first thing you’ll need to do is take back control of your account. If you can still gain access, change your password and username straight away. Choose a strong, secure password (using at least 12 characters) and a mix of numbers, symbols and lower and uppercase letters.

You should also change the answers to your security questions and turn on two-step verification to further protect your account.

Reach out to your contacts

You should warn friends, family and colleagues in your email contact list and let them know that your account has been hacked. Tell them to watch out for any suspicious emails sent from your account and that they shouldn’t click on any links until the issue is resolved.

Check your settings

Hackers might also change your settings to further compromise your security. Check your email settings and look for any changes to your email signature, and make sure no emails are being auto-forwarded to someone else.

Protect yourself for the future

Finally, it’s important to put measures in place to reduce your chances of being hacked again. Install some up to date antivirus software and make sure that you’re using the latest versions of your browser, apps and operating system. If you already have security software, make sure you’ve got the latest version and run it to check for malware, spyware, and viruses.

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