If your small business Internet or email account has been hacked, would you know what to do? Most people would change their password. Unfortunately, changing your passwords is not enough to protect your small business.
There are many ways that small businesses can be compromised:
- You have not updated your security software on either your computer or your business’ Wi-Fi router.
- You’re using weak passwords.
- You clicked on a malware link.
- You accidentally downloaded malware.
- You allowed customers to use your main small business Internet network instead of a guest network.
If your email account is hacked, you should take the following steps to fix the issue and prevent it from happening again.
Keep your anti-virus and anti-malware programs updated
Most cyber criminals collect passwords by using malware that has been installed on your computer or smartphone. That’s why it’s critical to continuously update your anti-virus and anti-malware programs, no matter which operating system you use. To make this easier, you can setup automatic updates on your computer and smartphone.
Change your password and make it stronger
Studies have shown that the average email account has over 100 password-protected accounts linked to it, which shows that passwords often aren't as secure as they should be. If you discover that you’ve been hacked, take some time to update your password and make it stronger. You should do this after you update your anti-virus or anti-malware programs so the hackers aren’t able to collect your new password as well. Here are some tips to consider when selecting your new passwords:
- Make your password at least 10 characters long
- Use a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
- Don’t use information about yourself including your name, age, or city
- Don’t use common words that can be found in a dictionary, as these are easy for hackers to break
You can consider using a password manager, which can help you remember your passwords in a secure way.
Send an email to your contacts saying you were hacked
You should warn all of your contacts to be cautious of any emails sent by you that don’t seem right. They should also be cautious when clicking any links included in an email. This will help stop the spread of malware.
Check your email and Wi-Fi settings
Hackers may modify your email settings to automatically receive a forwarded copy of every email you receive, so make sure to check your email forwarding settings. You should also check your email signature to ensure that nothing spammy has been added to it. Finally, make sure that your ‘reply to’ email address is actually yours.
Change your security question(s)
It’s possible that a cybercriminal correctly guessed your security question to hack your account. Make sure to change your security question and use answers that are not easy to guess.
Consider adopting two-factor authentication
Most email providers provide the option of two-factor authentication as an additional security measure. This requires both a password and some other type of identification, such as a mobile phone number, to login to an account. If you have been hacked, you should consider adding this added layer of security to prevent future breaches.
Change any other of your accounts that use the same password
Make sure to change any other accounts that use the same username and password as your compromised account. All though this may be time consuming, it is certainly worthwhile to prevent future issues.
Your email is an important part of your online identity so it’s important to be vigilant after a breach. By following these steps, you can ensure that your business recovers quickly and is protected moving forward.