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What to do if you suspect you’ve been hacked

While the internet is buzzing with the latest mass data breach (hack) of Optus’ 9.7 million Australian users, the majority of the online discussion is understandable outrage.

It’s a scary feeling when you suspect that your account has been hacked. Whether it’s an email account, social media account, or even your bank account, the sense of violation can be overwhelming.

But don’t panic! There are steps you can take to regain control of your account and protect yourself from future attacks.

Run a Security Scan

If you suspect that your computer has been hacked, it’s a good idea to run a security scan using an antivirus program. This will help identify any malicious software that may have been installed on your machine without your knowledge. Once you’ve identified the offending program, be sure to remove it from your system as soon as possible. It is crucial that this is your first step as changing passwords first when you have a compromised computer only gives the hackers your new passwords.

Check Your Activity Logs

Most websites and apps have activity logs that show you when and where your account was accessed. If you see any suspicious activity, such as logins from strange locations or devices that you don’t recognise, it’s a good indication that someone has gained unauthorised access to your account.

Change Your Passwords

The next thing you should do if you suspect your account has been hacked is change your passwords. This includes any password-protected accounts that may have been affected, such as email accounts, social media accounts, online banking accounts, etc. Be sure to choose strong passwords that are a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, and never use the same password for more than one account.

Lock It Down

Now you have secured your system and changed your passwords, look to see if your accounts support 2-Factor Authentication. 2-factor authentication is a security measure that requires two different forms of identification to log in to a account. Typically, this includes something you know (like a password) and something you have (like a phone or security token). This added layer of security can help protect your account from unauthorised access, even if your password is compromised as hackers would need access to your phone to receive text messages.

Notify the Appropriate Authorities

If you suspect that your financial information has been compromised, notify your bank or credit card company immediately. They will be able to take steps to protect your account and prevent any further fraudulent charges. In the event of fraudulent activity on your accounts, you should also file a report with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and/or your local police station.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Accounts

Even after taking steps to secure your accounts, it’s important to keep a close eye on them for any signs of suspicious activity. This includes monitoring your credit report for any unauthorised changes or discrepancies. You can also set up two-factor authentication for additional security. This means that in addition to a password, you will also need a code from a security device or app in order to log into your account.

Dealing with a hacked account can be a nightmare, but by taking the appropriate steps you can minimise the damage and secure your information. Be sure to keep a close eye on your accounts going forward. With a little vigilance, you can protect yourself from future attacks.

If you are looking for additional help navigating a potential hack, either get in touch with us, or check out the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s “Have you been hacked” resource.

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