PLEASE READ AND BEWARE: This could happen to anyone!
This week has seen another iTandCoffee client under attack from hackers, who have taken control of her Hotmail account and even changed her password.
It started when a friend let her know that she had received a strange email from my client and called my client to warn her.
Realising something was amiss, my client sent an email around to her contact advising that her account had a virus or had been hacked. At this point, she really should have logged in to her Hotmail account via Webmail and changed her password. (See Securing your Hotmail account (or live.com or outlook.com account.) (Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it!)
Unfortunately, the next day the poor lady found that her email no longer worked on any device - that her password no longer seemed to be valid. The reality hit home then that hackers truly had stolen her email address and password. It was at this point she called iTandCoffee.
How had hackers discovered her email address and password?
This had happened when she clicked on a link in an email from a friend (who had previously made the same mistake, and whose account had also been hacked) and entered her email login details on a screen that looked like a legitimate login screen.
Subsequent to that, the hackers had not only been emailing her friends and then replying to friend's emails that asked whether the emails were legitimate. They had also changed her Hotmail account password, so that she could no longer access her emails from any device and could no longer log into Hotmail via her web browser.
But that's not all - Apple account was also impacted
These hackers had also attempted to hack my client's iTunes/iCloud account that had the same email address - and the account had therefore been locked, and required a password (using security questions and answers to reset it. Fortunately, my client had secured that account with a different password, so the hackers had failed to access that account.
But with access to her Hotmail account, the hackers would still have the opportunity to perform password resets on this and other online accounts that use the Hotmail account as identifier!
And the hackers continued to have access to her account to email any of her friends and contacts pretending to be her.
So what could this lady do next about her inaccessible Hotmail account?
In the case of a hacked Hotmail, Live or Outlook account that you can no longer access, go straight to the 'Recover your Microsoft account' page at https://account.live.com/acsr. (For GMAIL, visit https://www.google.com/accounts/recovery, )
Follow the prompts and provide the required information. Make sure you do this from a computer that would usually access the mail account - this will help to prove that you are the owner.
Hopefully, that will be sufficient for Microsoft to identify you as the true owner of the email account that has been hacked and allow you to regain control of your account.
Once you submit such a request for recovery of a Microsoft account and while Microsoft is processing this request (which could take a day or so), your account will be locked to prevent further unauthorised access. This will keep those hackers from doing any further damage.
How to stop such hacking attacks on your email account
If you ever so much as suspect that your email account has been hacked, you should IMMEDIATELY change your password, before the hacker has time to get in at change it first or to access your personal email. You should also warn your contacts that you may have been hacked, as many hackings result in emails being sent to all Contacts associated with the account.
As mentioned in an earlier post, it is really important to also set up a security measure called 2-step verification.
Read more in the iTandCoffee article Securing your Hotmail account (or live.com or outlook.com account)
If you are a GMAIL user, refer the article How to change your Gmail password for details of where to find a similar security setting in GMAIL (and how to change your password).
Need help? Contact iTandCoffee on 1300 885 420 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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iTandCoffee is at 34 High Street Glen Iris 3146, Victoria Australia
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