When you want to log into Facebook, Gmail, or iCloud, your password doesn’t work, and you can’t access your most critical online accounts.
This worst-case scenario could make you feel nauseous and helpless.
Fortunately, you have options when it comes to dealing with digital vandalism. If you’ve been locked out of your accounts, major internet providers have provided a few options for regaining access.
These firms not only assist you to regain access, but they also help you reduce the damage that a hacker might cause.
How can you tell whether someone else has taken over one of your accounts? The inability to log in is a major red flag.
But don’t assume you’ve been hacked just because your password isn’t working.
To begin, double-check if the perpetrator is truly a bad guy: If you can’t log in to your Facebook or Twitter account on your computer, for example,
To see if you’ve truly lost access, try logging in on a different device.
Before you jump to the worst-case scenario, double-check the password you’re inputting.
Another red flag can be seen in the form of an email. Messages concerning questionable behavior will be sent to you by many services.
When someone enters into your account from an unfamiliar computer (or a foreign country), or when your username or password is changed.
Keep an eye out for emails like this in your inbox. Keep an eye out for communications from friends: if “you” start sending them junk, they may notify you that your account has been hacked.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and reclaim your account once you’ve realized you’ve been hacked.
SET THE ALARM CLOCK
The good news is that you’re not alone: Google, Apple, Microsoft, and other tech behemoths don’t want impostors to take control of your online identities, so they’ll do everything they can to assist you to regain access.
In some circumstances, you won’t be able to access your account since the firm detected suspicious behavior and automatically shut everyone out.
So, if you suspect a hack, the first thing you should do is notify the company. A simple web search for “report Gmail hack” should lead you to the appropriate site to report your issue.
Make sure the page you’re viewing is the official recovery page before you start inputting information.
Make that the page is hosted on the correct web domain for the service you’re trying to access, such as google.com or apple.com, by checking the URL.
We’ve also compiled a list of the most effective recovery strategies for a few of the major players: Try the methods listed here for Google, these for Apple, and these for Microsoft.
Then simply follow the app’s or service’s instructions, which will be adapted specifically for your account.
Because different apps use different recovery methods, you may be required to verify your phone number or backup email address, as well as answer personal questions.
such as a few questions about your Facebook acquaintances to verify that you are the account’s legitimate owner.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to go back in quickly. This is partly because today’s applications collect so much information about us that they can identify people based on details like their date of birth, phone number, and location.
However, regaining access to your account isn’t the only thing you’ll need to do.
CHANGE THE PASSWORDS ON YOUR COMPUTER
Change your password once you can log in again—or if you can already access your account but have spotted suspicious activity—to keep any unwanted visitors away.
Don’t recycle a previous password or use the same string of letters and numbers to register another account; the new code should be unique.
If you’ve been using the same password for many accounts (which you shouldn’t! ), make sure you change the passwords on all of them.
Most online services allow you to see all of your logged-in devices. Look through the security options until you come across this page.
Then, except for the one you’re now using, log out of all other sessions. You can log out of sessions you don’t recognize by going to this Facebook page and this Google page, for example.
While you’re tinkering with your account, double-check that none of your other settings have been altered.
Examine your personal information, any third-party apps linked to your account, and your security questions and answers.
Then double-check that your backup email addresses and/or phone numbers are yours.
If you believe your hacker has scanned your security questions and backup accounts, take action immediately.
Change these on the compromised account as well as any other accounts that use the same data.
This will prevent the bad actor from later exploiting your personal information to hack into other accounts.
Was the hacked service linked to any of your other accounts, such as credit cards, bank accounts, or other financial programs? In this instance, you should go over your statements again.
If your hacker spent any of your money, you should try to get your money back as quickly as possible by contacting your bank and asking how to do so. While you’re on the lookout for financial misdeeds,
Also, check to see if the hacker added any unusual payment methods or shipping addresses to your account.
SECURITY CHECKS SHOULD BE PERFORMED
You’ll want to defend yourself against future hacking attempts now that you’ve recovered from one.
So turn on the security elements that are designed to prevent attacks—for more information, see our guide on safeguarding your online accounts.
Turning on two-factor authentication, which needs a number delivered to your phone in addition to the regular login and password, is one of the most beneficial safeguards.
And different services have their security features: Facebook, for example, allows you to add a list of trusted friends who can confirm your identity if you are hacked again.
This feature can be enabled in the site’s settings on the Password and Security page.
Next, try to figure out how the hacker gained access to your account so you can prevent such attacks in the future.
Although it may not always be possible, a complete virus and malware check of your hard disc (in case that’s how the attacker got in) can’t hurt.
Before you begin, make sure your operating system and antivirus software are both up to date.
After you’ve completed the review, use a standalone scanner like Kaspersky Virus Scanner for macOS or Microsoft Safety Scanner for Windows to receive a second perspective.
Check your email account for sent messages or new filters if the hack affected a service that contains email, such as your Google account.
Hackers can set up filters that send every incoming mail to an address you don’t recognize, for example.
Delete these restrictions to prevent anyone from gaining access to your account in the future.
This is especially crucial because you can use email to reset passwords for other accounts and receive notifications about questionable behavior.
You don’t want those recovery communications intercepted by an eavesdropper.
Even if only one account is hacked, all of your main services should be considered compromised.
Perform a full security audit on all of them, following all of the measures outlined above.