Articles

Has My Account Been Hacked?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Your friends and family have been receiving sketchy messages from your Facebook account, but you don’t remember sending them? It’s one of the telltale signs that your Facebook account has been hacked. A 2016 study by the University of Phoenix showed that nearly two-thirds of all social-media account holders have been hacked. And in 2013, Yahoo reported that all of its 3 billion users had their emails hacked.

Hacking accounts has become common enough that there are now websites that can tell you whether your email account was breached. On one, HaveIBeenPwned, the website prompts you for your email address and will show you if it has been compromised and through what breaches.

Now, you’re wondering, “Has my account been hacked?” Here are some other ways to find out whether your email, Facebook, Twitter, or other social-media accounts have been compromised:

  • You can’t access your account.
  • Someone sent out emails or wrote posts that you didn’t write.
  • People are receiving friend requests that you didn’t send.
  • You notice browser extensions or other software installs that you didn’t initiate. Extensions are mini-software programs that essentially extend your web browser with features and other services, such as Google Calendar or 1Password, a password manager program.
  • You are getting a ton of popup ads.

If one of your accounts fits the bill, here’s what you can do to take control of them.

1. If you still have access to your account, change your password.

Remember to have strong passwords that contain a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. It’s usually good practice to change your passwords of your other accounts as well.

2. If you don’t have access to the account, regain control.

If you are locked out of your account, you can press the “forgot my password” link and answer your secret questions. You can also get back into your account by using your backup email address.

3. Check to see where your account is currently logged on, and remove those that don’t belong.

On Facebook accounts, go to your settings and click on the tab that reads “security and login.” Under that tab, you can see where you’re logged in from the city down to what device in which you’ve logged in. If one doesn’t belong, click on the three dots on the right side, and click “Not you?” The platform will then walk you through securing the account. Many email providers have a similar feature. For example, on Gmail, go to “My Account” and then click the “Device Activity & Security Events” tab under sign-in and security. On many accounts — be it email or social media — you can also enable a feature that allows you to get notifications when a new device logs in

4. See if there are any internet extensions or apps attached to your account that you didn’t install.

Under Facebook’s settings, the “apps and websites” tab will tell you which websites or applications you’ve opened using your Facebook profile. You can disallow those in which you did not visit. Do the same with your web browsers. As an example, on the Google Chrome browser, click on the three dots to the right of the URL box, and go to “more tools.” Under that tab, go to extensions, and you can see which add-ons are on your browser.

5. Use two-factor authentication.

What is this? Think of two-factor authentication as an added layer of security for your online accounts, from Apple IDs to email accounts. Social accounts usually handle this is varying ways. As an example, if you’re trying to buy an app or a song from the Apple Store on your phone, two-factor authentication will first prompt you for your password. Depending on your method of receiving the second “factor,” you will get a one-time code either through a text message, voice call or mobile app. You’ll use that code — a different one each time — to log in to the account.

6. Scan your computer for viruses and malware, and be sure your security protocols are up-to-date.

Your accounts may have been compromised through malware, or malicious software. Scan your computer regularly antivirus security programs and stamp out any fishy programs.

 

Now, go on and put some of these practices to the test! And if you’re already a Windstream customer, rest a little easier with one of our three security packages, which each include personal identity theft protection and credit-score access through CreditGuard.

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