What Should I Do If My Yahoo! Account Was Hacked?
In an attack that is the presently largest breach in cyber-crime history, 1 billion Yahoo accounts were compromised. Everything from names, email address, phone numbers, encrypted passwords, and more was taken, marking yet another online giant as victim to the now endemic hacking folly that is sweeping the globe.
With 1 billion accounts hit (along with the less recent mail breach experienced in 2014), there’s a good possibility that your username was one of them. Here’s what you can do if your Yahoo account was hacked.
#1 Check Your Email Address
The reason you’re checking your email address is because often this is where most hackers will start. People save loads of sensitive information in their email accounts, unaware that this is the first place hackers will look for the lucrative data when they strike. So before you do anything else, make sure you are feeding hackers your all-important information by using an anti-intrusion email security tool like this one. It’ll sweep your accounts looking for credit card numbers, exposed passwords, and other sensitive information that is sitting around waiting for a hacker to dive into.
Additionally, these tools will help you remove the information and alarm you if something suspicious comes up in the future.
#2 Check Your Latest Logins
Next you should check out what’s going on with your account. You can do this by viewing your Recent activity logs that can be accessed from the left hand menu bar on your Yahoo Account page.
As you can see from the screenshot, the right hand side will show you a list of places and devices where your Yahoo account has been accessed recently. If something looks unfamiliar or suspicious, change your password immediately. Yahoo makes this really simple by giving you the password change link right there on the activity log page, and we walk you through the process in the next section.
#3 Change Your Password
Once again, from your Yahoo account page, look through the left hand navigation for the Account security link. In this section, you’ll see Change password. Click on this to select a new password. When choosing a new password, bear in mind that the experts have recommended that you avoid standard dictionary words and personal details (like your mother’s name or son’s birthday), and that you opt instead for a combination of numbers/letters/cases/characters that is a minimum of 8 characters long.
#4 Check Your Recovery Details
Continuing along the Account security section, you’ll see a section that contains your account recovery information. This is an email address or password used to verify your account if you get locked out for some reason.
If you don’t have one, now’s a good time to add one! List a reliable email address and phone number that you have access to all the time. This way, if you are locked out of your account, you can easily recover the account by accessing the information sent to your recovery information listed.
If you already have recovery details in place, check that these are accurate. Sometimes hackers will change even one letter in your email address, changing the actual email account to one that they control. This effectively gives them full access to your account without you even realizing it. The same could be true of the phone number you’ve provided, so check both of these pieces of information to see that they are accurate.
#5 Opt for Two-Step Verification
Two-factor or two-step verification is a smart way to keep hackers at bay. This process requires you to enter a verification pin that is sent to the cell phone number provided upon activation before logging into your account. Only the person holding your phone can access this code, so unless the criminals have stolen your actual mobile device, two-step verification is a sure-fire security block.
To opt into two-step verification, go to your Yahoo account page, and open the Account security section. Near the bottom of the page, you’ll see Two-step verification with a toggle switch to turn it on or off.
#6 Check Other Accounts
Here’s why you should never use the same password on multiple accounts: Hacker aren’t stupid, and they’ll take your stolen password from one account, Yahoo for example, and apply it to all of your other web accounts, enabling them to run free through your private space. The reason they can get away with this is because so many people use the same password for several accounts, so they’ve taken all the work out of security breaching for hackers.
Don’t fall for this easy scammer bait. Use strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts. If you’ve already made this mistake, go through your other accounts to see if you still have access. If you do, change the passwords to new, unique ones now. If you don’t have access, try to recover the account or contact customer support to reset the password.
#7 Get Antivirus Protection
Unfortunately, there are thousands of ways for a hacker to mess up your life. Whether it’s infecting your device with a trojan horse or simply using your account to send out spam, cybercriminals are industrious to say the least. That’s why you’ve got to stay one step ahead of them all the time.
The only way to keep ahead of the hacking game is to use reliable antivirus software frequently. There are several free versions that provide solid security, or you can pay for an even more thorough software package (though it isn’t really necessary for the average Joe). Mobile security is also a major factor in ensuring your online security, so download a free mobile antivirus to keep your cell phone and tablets protected.
#8 Get Help When You’re Locked Out
Most importantly, if you can’t access your account because the password was changed, the first step is to try and recover the Yahoo account via the recovery information you provided when opening the account. If this still doesn’t work or you don’t have access to these forms, then use this form to get customer support quickly involved.