Suddenly you’re unable to login to your email account. Your friends say they’re getting strange spam emails from you. Chances are, you’ve been hacked. What do you do now?
1. Regain control of your account. Try resetting your password by clicking the “forgot password?” link. Of course, this will only work if the hacker hasn’t already changed your reset address or your security questions. Fortunately, most major online services have tools in place to help you get your account back after it has been taken over by someone else. Here’s how to do that on Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.
2. Change your password. Now that you’re back in, choose a new, strong password that contains a mix of upper and lower case letters and numbers.
3. Check your password resets and email settings. Make sure the hacker hasn’t changed the answers to your security questions, or changed the questions themselves. Is the email address listed as your account recovery address correct? Also, check your email rules/settings to make sure nothing is being forwarded to another account.
4. Change other passwords. If your email account has been hacked, your other online accounts may be at risk as well. This is especially true if you use the same or similar passwords for multiple accounts (something you should never do!).
Read this article from Wired.com for a more detailed look at the steps you can take to control the damage after one of your online accounts is compromised, whether you were hacked, phished, or had malware installed.