Today, my email account was compromised and used to send out spam. Thankfully, I was able to login to my account which is hosted with Google Apps and change the password before most of the spam emails were able to be sent out, thus successfully minimizing the amount of potential damage. That being said, if you did receive an email from me containing a single link, please disregard and delete the email – I didn’t send it!
But what if you aren’t able to login to your account and change the password? Well, all web based email services such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail all have password recovery options which you should use as soon as you are aware that your account has been compromised. Most of the time by using the password recovery/reset feature you should be able to regain access to your account.
However, if for some reason you are still unable to access your account, I would recommend checking out the following links: for Gmail, for Hotmail/Live Mail, for Yahoo Mail. Once you have regained access to your account the first thing you should do is change your password. Choose a strong and unique password. We’ve written a few articles on password security and how to create good passwords in the past which I would recommend you read.
After you have changed your password, the next thing you should do is check your email signature to ensure it hasn’t been modified in any way to include spam links. Along with your signature you will want to double check your automated response setting to make sure it hasn’t been switched on. If it has been enabled, make sure you turn it off and remove any message that has been set.
You will also want to check that the Send Mail As feature (may not apply to all email services) is using the correct email address. In addition, check that your mail forwarding feature (if used) is using the correct email address.
After completing all of these steps, you should have complete control over your account once again. For some more tips on protecting your email account, check out this useful information from Google (it applies for all of your accounts on the web).
Have you ever had an email account hacked or compromised? Do you have any other advice on what to do to recover a hacked or compromised email address? Leave a comment!