OK – so you have been informed that your usual / favourite social media site or app has been hacked. Firstly, lets not believe everything you hear – just yet. The fact that many so may sites are suffering data breaches makes it easy to jump to panic at every notification. Although that’s not always bad reaction to have – hackers also play on that fear too and send out phishing emails to catch you out. With this in mind, you need to double check.

If you have received an email telling you your account has been hacked / breached and the email contains links for you to confirm or reset any information; it is more than likely fake and not legitimate. Service providers should never send out mails like that. A dose of skepticism is never a bad thing.

When they do, they will ask you to sign into your account and update your security settings. Check news sites for information on a security breach and visit your social media network directly – do not follow any links contained in any emails.

What You Should Do Now:

  • Never follow links in mails informing of that your account has been hacked. But if you must and have no other option; then hover the mouse over the link and double check it is sending you to the correct companies website
  • Always use bookmarks or type the site URL into the browser yourself and double check for typos before pressing enter
  • Change your user account password immediately
  • If you use the same email address & password combination on any other site or service, change those passwords immediately too

Watch Out For Identity Theft:

  • Sign up for a free credit check service – in a majority of cases of social network breaches the hackers are after account information to hack or sell on to other criminal groups. If the scope of the breach is large and contains personal information, its possible that the information could be used for identity theft. Check bank transactions and check if any new accounts, credit cards or bank loans etc have been taken out in your name. Using a credit checking service could help you catch this before its too late.
  • Contact your bank or credit card company as soon as you notice anything out of the ordinary

General Advice:

  • Always bookmark sites you visit regularly
  • Always use different passwords for every website, service and account you setup and use
  • Never use the same password that you use for your email account on any website, service or account
  • Use a password manager to help you create unique and secure passwords