Immediate Responses

Financial or Work Related Implications?

Before you start doing anything I would suggest that you evaluate whether the hack can affect your professional and/or financial life. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does your workplace provide a webmail or VPN service so that you can access your work environment from home? If so, did you use the same login credentials or password on your work account? Is there a risk that your computer has a virus infection? If yes, you should CALL your work’s IT support immediately to let them know what happened and ask them what you should do.

2. Did you use the credentials (user name/password) in your hacked account for any on-line banking/financial service (such as PayPal)? Did you provide the bank with an e-mail account that has just been hacked? If so, CALL your bank and let them know what has happened! It is important that you use a phone to contact your work and bank because that way the hackers can’t trace your actions even if you computer has been compromised.  

Checking for Viruses

Before you can actually start working on the hacking issue, you need to establish a few things. If you have a Windows PC with NO anti-virus software on it or you have a Windows computer that keeps popping up advertisements or security warning messages all the time then definitely start by looking for viruses! If you have a virus scanner installed – make sure it is updated then run it. You can keep reading while it is running (which can take forever). If not you need to download, install and run one (see later section on how to do that). At the same time I also suggest you download an anti spyware/malware program as well. The reason why you should check for viruses is that if your PC does have a virus infection, chances are that it transmits everything you type on your computer to the hackers. New passwords, user names, which sites you visit, everything. And then all my instructions below will be in vain. The hackers will get a full list of all your changed credentials.

Once you have the anti-virus software in place, run it. While it is running, come back and continue reading from here.

If you have a Mac or a newer Windows computer with an updated virus scanner and you make sure your operating system is always updated, then you can continue reading.   Next up – Assessing the Damage