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What to do if you were hacked?

Honestly, our government probably knows everything there is to know about you. Other governments too. Forgot Password? Just ask the FSB! However, security authorities do not use this data for simple criminal attacks. A criminal hacking team that gains access to your personal information typically attempts to monetize unauthorized access as thoroughly and as quickly as possible, preferably before you hear about it. For example, a violation such as the Capital A hack went public. What can you do if you find that you have been hacked?

How did you know that?

When a serious hack occurs, the news agencies go wild. You can check the affected service's website to see if you were affected. You can also accept this. The only advantage is that you are one in a million so hackers may never get to falsify your data. Also, do not think your antivirus program provides protection against security breaches that occur on a remote server.

Other threats are not so easy to spot. Your first indication that a hacker compromised your credit card may be unexpected items on your bill. Always read the credit card statements and think about what each line means ̵

1; even the small ones. Card thieves occasionally make a few small purchases just to make sure the card is in order before making a big purchase. You can use a personal financial service like Mint.com to keep track of all credit card transactions from one place.

If you're lucky, your bank detects fraudulent activity, rejects the charges, and turns them into a new card. This is of course tedious, since all automatic payments that you have configured will need the new number. Nevertheless, it is better than hackers with your credit to buy a Caribbean vacation.


Scammers may use a malicious e-mail account to send spam or send targeted e-mail scams to their contacts , Your first clue might be worried phone calls from friends asking if you are really stuck in a Paris airport without cash or angry news from "you".

An identity thief can also use your personal information to open balance accounts, accounts of which you know nothing. You may not find out until a trader, at your request, slammes the door to open a new line of credit yourself. In the past, I have recommended through AnnualCreditReport.com to request a free report once a year from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, distributed every four months. Two years later, it is clear that Equifax will pay $ 650 million for its negligence, including free credit monitoring or a minimum payment of $ 125 for all concerned. Let's hope that this will stimulate all three credit services to reduce and tighten their security.

These days, PCMag is optimistic about the credit karma service which deducts your credit (unfortunately) as often as once from TransUnion and Equifax a week to keep track of your balance. These are "soft" deductions that do not affect your credit as there are too many "hard" deductions a company makes when applying for more credit. Both LastPass and Dashlane offer surveillance as a convenience, for example, to check if your card numbers are displayed in the Dark Web. Of course, you'll need to provide your credit card number, but you already rely on them to protect your passwords.

What happens next?

Credit card problems may have been the easiest hacker against the weather. They are not responsible for the fraudulent allegations, and once the bank has issued a new card, the problem is resolved.

Restoring control over a hacked email account can be more difficult. You must contact the e-mail provider and prove that you are the true account holder. Of course, if the hacker changes your password, you will not be able to use your regular e-mail address to contact the provider. It is important to have more than one email address and use each as an alternative contact for the other.

Did you use your e-mail address as a user name on other websites? This is certainly a common practice. However, if you also used the same password that you used for the hacked email account, these accounts are now compromised as well.

Even if you did not use the same password, you may experience problems. Think about it. What do you do if you forget a website password? Right: Click to send a password reset link to your e-mail address. An intelligent hacker who has control over the email account quickly searches for your other accounts, social media accounts, or even worse for shopping and bank accounts.

After recovering from taking over an email account, be sure to visit any web site that is linked to this email address and change your password. A password manager will be of great help here.

Identity Theft

Full identity theft can be a nightmare. Victims can spend thousands of dollars over weeks and months to regain control of their online identity and their lives. The Federal Trade Commission provides an excellent consultation page with detailed information on how to proceed. The site suggests, among other things, that you order your credit reports so you can see what happened, and make an official identity theft message to the FTC.

The website will list absolutely everything you need to do step by step. It contains checklists to make sure you have not missed any tasks, as well as sample letters and forms. You can not go wrong with this useful resource.

Do not be hacked again!

How can you ensure that you will not be hacked again or not at all? Since the EquiFax hack, you've probably seen a lot of articles asking you to freeze your credit, set up a fraud alert (which means you'll have to go through extra verification steps to open a new account), and so on. Before you make such changes to your credit life, you should consider whether you are ready to make them permanent. After all, the next big injury is coming up; in fact it may already have happened. The actual injury to the Equifax case occurred months before it was detected.

As for credit, you can not do much except buy from dodgy retailers in the real world or on the internet. Most brick-and-mortar stores now accept credit cards with chips (though there are still stocks). Chipped cards thoroughly secure personal transactions, but can not help with non-existent online transactions.

Mobile payment systems like Apple Pay and Android Pay are actually safer than physical credit cards. Each transaction uses a unique number. So hackers do not get anything if they steal existing transaction data. You can also use the mobile payment system for online purchases. Simply protect your mobile device with a fingerprint or strong passcode and always keep it with you.

Badly secured websites may expose your email address and password to hackers. However, if you use an incorrect password, your account can be easily used brute-force attack. Use a secure password for your e-mail account and another secure password for any other account or secure site. Yes, you need a password manager, but you do not have to pay. The best free password managers are quite effective.

On some websites, you can request a password reset by answering a few simple security questions. The problem is that in most cases, the bad guys can quickly find answers to these questions on Google. If you are allowed to define your own security questions, do so and select important questions that only you can answer. If you are forced to choose from lame questions like your mother's maiden name, you will not use a truthful answer. Choose a wrong answer that you will remember. Do not use the same question-answer pair in multiple locations.

You can take some action to protect yourself against identity theft in full. Never fill out information in web forms that exceeds what is strictly necessary. If necessary, but not relevant, such as: For example, if your road is on a website where nothing is being sent to you, think of something! Get a cheap document shredder for paper bills and bank statements. Review all statements and use your free credit reports. Support all your efforts by installing a powerful security suite.

Yes, some effort is needed, some vigilance. That is, it is far less than the work you would have to spend on recovery if hackers had managed to steal your identity.

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