What Should I Do If My AOL Account Was Hacked
AOL might seem like a dying service, but it’s still one of the five most popular internet services in the world. Particularly in the US, people are holding onto this forerunner of the email/social media movement that has exploded over the past few decades into a multi-trillion dollar industry.
Well, those millions of users recently got a scare when AOL announced a security breach that affected an unnamed number of accounts. If you were hit by this virus, you need to get on it right away. Here’s what to do:
Step One: Change Your Password
If you can access your account, then you need to change your password pronto. Sign into your account, and go to this page to change it. AOL will ask you a security question that you provided the answer for when signing up. Don’t remember the answer? Hit Forgot answer, and an email will be sent to your alternate email address linked to the account.
From here you can go to the General Account Information page and select Change Your Password.
When deciding on a new password, keep these smart tips in mind:
- Use lowercase and uppercase letter combinations.
- Add in a few punctuation marks or other special characters.
- Don’t use your mother’s maiden name or other obvious public info.
- Throw in some numbers for good luck.
Step Two: Review & Verify Your Personal Details
Hackers will immediately try to gain control of your account by adding their own contact information to the account. Check each area of the account information including Name, Email, and Account Recovery Information. If anything was added or changed, this is a clear indicator that someone has messed with your account.
Step Three: Beef up Your Security
Two-factor authentication is the latest way to keep hackers out of your account. Even if they somehow get your username and password, without the verification code, access will be denied. Two-step authentication requires users to enter a code that is sent to your chosen mobile device each time they want to log in.
Turn on two-step authentication in your Settings menu. Click the Set Up link under the Two-Factor Authentication section. The page explains how the process works, and then you can click Get Started (the blue button on the bottom) to get things going.
Step Four: Secure Other Accounts
A tragically common mistake people make is using the same password for all of their online accounts. This is like having one key for all the doors in your house. Once someone makes a copy of that key, they can enter your home from any point they want.
If you’ve made this mistake already, change the passwords quickly, and make them all different. Think your Facebook account was hit? Find out how to regain control of hacked Facebook accounts here.
This is true of all online accounts like Twitter, Gmail, banking sites, and more.
Step Five: Debug Your Computer
Viruses are rampant among hackers today. They are easily installed by unsuspecting surfers, and these nefarious bugs give the hacker full-access to your computer. If this happens, even changing the passwords won’t help because the hacker will gain access to the new information instantly.
Whenever anything suspicious is happening, you should automatically run an antivirus. There are many good options for free or pay, so there’s just no excuse not to.
Step Six: Get Help if You Can’t Get Into Your Account
If you’re locked out of your AOL account, this probably means the hackers changed your password. If that’s the case, you can try to get back in by resetting the password. Click here or hit Forgot password on the login screen.
You’ll be asked to give your email or username, and assuming you can still get into that email account, AOL will send you a link to reset your password.
If you can’t get into your Gmail account because it was hacked, contact AOL support immediately. They can be reached at call 1-800-827-6364 (Mon-Fri: 8am-1am ET; Sat-Sun: 8am-10pm ET). The same is true for a hacked Yahoo email account, or any other mail service you used as your account email for your AOL account.
Step Seven: Sweep Your Inbox
Storing sensitive information in your email account is like inviting the wolf into the sheep’s pen. Unfortunately, so many people do this without even thinking, and that’s where LogDog steps up to the plate. This free Intrusion Detection Service offers you the ultimate protection against hackers accessing the type of information that can ruin your life. Get LogDog for your Android or iOS running devices, and play it safe.