How can I tell if my email account has been hacked?
If a hacker gets access to your email account they will usually use it to send out spam. If you’re using the same sign-in for other websites - such as online banking, social media or App Stores - they could use those accounts to steal your money or attack other people.
The first sign that something’s wrong is when your friends and family start asking why you sent them a strange email with suspicious attachments or links to websites.
What should I do now?
The first thing you should do is run a complete scan of your PC using up-to-date security software.
You should then change the password for any account that uses the same password as your email. It's as if you've lost a key - you should change all the locks that use that key. Make sure you use a strong password for all your online accounts.
This is also a good time to remind your friends and family to be aware of suspicious emails, even when they come from someone they know. It may be a good idea to send an email to let everyone know your account was hacked.
How did this happen?
The most common ways a hacker gets access to your account are:
Using a PC infected with spyware
Opening malicious attachments in a spam email
Clicking on links to a malicious website
Not using strong passwords
Following a few tips can help keep you protected:
Keep your security software up-to-date
Use strong passwords for all your online accounts
Don’t open suspicious email attachments or click unusual links in emails
Be wary when using a public computer
Make sure your operating system has the latest updates
Never reply to an email that asks for personal information
If you receive a suspicious email from a friend or think their account may have been hacked, you can report it using the “My friend’s been hacked” feature in Outlook.com.