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Your accounts on websites and social media. networks can be hacked by intruders. In this article we will talk about what to do if this has already happened.

Every person can become a target of cybercriminals or hackers who want to gain access to their personal information. But the likelihood of such a scenario for an ordinary Internet user is not high.

The average person is likely to face fewer cyber threats than, for example, a high-ranking politician, popular activist, or CEO of a large company. More significant figures may be targeted by phishing emails that hackers use to steal secrets from corporate networks or initiate transfers of large sums to their accounts. You, your friends and family are likely to face different types of threats. They will come from people you know or, more likely, from criminal groups using automated tools to collect credentials in bulk.

“We all like to think that we won't be the target of social engineering or other types of cyberattacks, but the truth is that even smart and careful people can lose in the fight against online fraud,” says Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist at the company. Eset, which deals with Internet security.
Many people even admit to the fact that by not opening phishing emails, they may still fall into the trap of hackers. A number of emails can still sneak into a user's system and will have consequences for both the person's credibility and their financial situation.

Understanding that a threat exists is key. Every person has their own weaknesses. These are the things that matter most to him (and that may not matter as much to someone else). Beyond that, value comes from the activities you do online, from your Facebook page to Netflix to your online purchases. If one of your accounts is compromised, your stolen information or credit card details could be used by scammers. For example, using stolen data from the Deliveroo resource, scammers can easily order food for free.

Facebook, Instagram and other social networks are less likely to contain your credit card information, but there are other risks. Hacked social media accounts can be used to post compromising messages that can embarrass or tarnish someone's reputation, or be used to obtain personal information about your friends and family members.

"Realizing that you've been hacked is no easy task," Moore adds. “You can wait for some time until the fact of hacking is definitely proven; at the same time, you will lose precious control over your accounts with tons of money. However, only complete confidence in the breach and detailed information about it will help prevent the theft of your data in the future.”

Unusual behavior​

A clear sign that you have been hacked is unusual or strange behavior when logging into or using your account. For example, you can't access your Google account using your usual username and password, or a check has arrived in one of your bank accounts for purchases you didn't make. These are obvious signs that your personal information has been compromised. Hopefully the bank will notice the suspicious payments before things get too far.

However, before any of your accounts are compromised, warning notifications may appear. The account that someone is trying to break into may alert you to unusual login attempts. For example, Facebook and Google will send notifications and emails to warn you of attempts to access your account. This usually happens if someone tried to log in and failed, but notifications can also be sent when someone successfully logged in from an unfamiliar location.

Not a day goes by without some company, app, or website suffering from a data breach (from Adobe to Dungeons and Dragons). This stolen information may include phone numbers, passwords, credit card information, and any other personal information. It will allow criminals to gain access to your personal life. Companies should quickly let you know if they have been compromised. Using a system security breach notification service will send you an alert about it. Haveibeenpwned and Identity checker from F-Secure will tell you about old data leaks and warn you about new cases if your data falls into the hands of attackers.

Regaining control of your account​

Once you find out that your account has been hacked, that's when the hard work of restoring it begins. Regaining control of an account can be difficult, depending on who has access to it. There is a chance that this will require the intervention of a huge number of site administrators. The recovery process can include anything: starting with just a story about what happened to the resource administration and ending with communication with law enforcement agencies.

First of all, you must contact the company that is responsible for your account. Each firm has its own security policies, procedures, and account recovery steps when it comes to compromised accounts. These policies can be easily found online using a search. (What to do if you were hacked on Facebook, Netflix, you can find out by clicking on the names of these sites).

When recovering a compromised account, you will likely go through various steps depending on whether you can still access it or not. If you can gain access to the account, companies often ask how it was compromised and give recommendations on what steps to take. If you can't access it, you'll likely be asked to provide more information about how the account was used (previous passwords, email addresses, security questions). If a person or group of people claims to have accessed your account and sent you a message about it, you should not click on any links they send. This may include false information and further attempts to gain access to your personal information.

Recovering your account through the company's website where you were hacked is the first step to regaining control of it. You should make sure that all the apps and software you use (on your phone and desktop) are up to date. What other actions you take will also depend on what exactly was compromised. For example, if you can get back into a hacked email account, it's worth checking your settings to make sure they haven't been changed. For example, you might have all your emails automatically forwarded to another account.

You should change the password of the compromised account and any other accounts using the same password (more on this later), and contact anyone who may have been affected by the breach. For example, if messages were sent from your Instagram account and you are forced to create a completely new account, you should tell friends and family about this and warn them about possible malicious messages from the old profile.

If necessary, you can also report the hack to law enforcement. In the UK, for example, you have the right to send details of identity theft to ActionFraud. Cases of extortion must be reported to the police.

Safety in everything​

The best way to reduce your chances of being hacked is to limit your attack surface. The better your security, the less likely you are to be compromised. Although some attacks cannot be defended against. This applies to cases where attacks are carried out by advanced hackers who pursue specific goals.

"Information about you is key to carrying out a successful attack, so minimizing your personal information online should encourage the attacker to choose another, less hidden victim," Moore says. If your accounts have only been compromised once but are attacked by an organized group, there is a good chance that you will become a target again.

When you think about your online behavior, you should consider how much information you put out there. “I tell people all the time: hide your personal information from scammers” - argues Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “When you send a photo on Instagram, post on Facebook or say something about your location, scammers see it. What other people can really know about you is what you've already posted online."

There are many ways you can protect yourself and your data. You should use a password manager to create and store unique and strong passwords. No one should use the same password on multiple sites, even if they think there is little risk of hacking.

If one of your accounts has been hacked, this should motivate you to check your other online accounts as well. Update your passwords and check your security settings. When updating accounts, you should also try to use advanced security questions if possible. The answers should be ones that only you know.

Also check the accounts you no longer use. What information, for example, is stored in an old Hotmail account that you never use?

Just like a password manager, multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be enabled for as many sites and services as possible. This is one of the most effective ways to protect your accounts from hackers. The most common type of MFA is two-factor authentication, which requires even more information (besides your password) to log into a service. Most often this is an SMS message, an authenticator app or physical security key. A list of websites and applications that support 2FA can be found here.

For people at high risk, there are a number of additional steps that can be taken. To increase privacy and anonymity on the Internet, they can use VPN, Tor or special program increased protection from Google.