I often receive emails from subscribers to my Video of the Day email whose email accounts have been hacked. How do I know their email account has been hacked? Well, for starters I don’t really think they are trying to sell Viagra to me or whatever else the bogus email links to.
Many people think their computer must be infected for their email account to become compromised but the reality is it happens mostly because people use weak passwords or worse yet the same password for every site that requires one. Once the hacker has your email address it’s pretty easy for them to conduct a brute force attack to determine your password and if it’s weak they’ll crack it every time and gain control of your email account. For this reason I recommend people use either Roboform or LastPass to create and remember strong passwords.
To check if your computer is infected then please see my post 2 Steps to Clean Your Windows Computer. This is a quick, easy, free way to run a check for Malware but isn’t a substitution for running an Antivirus program.
Usually I just delete these emails as trying to explain to the person how this happened and how to solve it can be a time consuming process. Thankfully, one of the best computer question and answer sites on the Internet has just published an updated guide showing what to do if your email has been hacked. So rather than reinvent the wheel please read this post from AskLeo!
If you prefer to have Leo’s article in PDF Format here is the PDF Download. (Right Click – Save As)
I hope this information either helps to prevent your email account from getting hacked in the first place or allows you to successfully recover it if it’s already been hacked.