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My Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo e-mail account got hacked!

Posted 11/17/2011 7:55 AM
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Advanced member

I have noticed and increased number of users that have e-mail from Hotmail and MSN that have their account hacked, including my father, so I have decided to post a few helpful tips, for avoiding such cases.

1. How does a "hacker" find out about an e-mail address?
From any sites you have used your e-mail on: social sites, gaming sites, forums, and anywhere you are required to create a username on.
Everyone has some kind of security, but since we know that even big companies such as Sony (you can read about the major Playstation Network database hacking) or even NASA did have troubles with hacking in the past, there is no such thing as a 100% "safe" database.

2. Very well but how does the "hacker" get my password?
Well chances are that you have used your same password on the site your e-mail got stolen from, but there are other methods as well.

3. Why did my Antivirus not protect me from this?
It can not. Please note that the e-mail user database is stored on a server that your own Antivirus does not have access to. Your Antivirus can protect your computer from the threats that are on the web and, depending on the Antivirus you have, it may also protect your local network.

Here is what Microsoft recommends, in case your e-mail account gets hacked:
Note: I will not post everything they recommend here to keep the post readable.

Also, Microsoft (MSN/Hotmail) is taking important steps in order to prevent future hacking. They have created a special function for reporting hacked accounts. Once you report an account as being stolen, it will be monitored and possibly they will find the culprit and stop them. You can read the full article and how to use this function, from the guide linked below:

Google (Gmail) has another really nice feature for preventing account hacking. They keep track of the IP's you login from and they prevent access to the account, without your explicit aprooval.

Here are the links you can use:
Keeping account secure:
Protecting your account:
If your account is compromised:

Yahoo (Ymail) also has a lot of security and spam/scam reporting features. Here is where you can report that you account got hacked (use the wizard):

To sum things up, there are important steps being taken in order to keep user accounts safe, by all major IT companies in the world. It is important though that the users also take the few necessary steps in order to protect themselves.
Andreea-Luciana Ostache
Support Team Leader

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