Signs your online accounts have been hacked (and how to secure them)

Signs your online accounts have been hacked (and how to secure them)

With most of the world now active on social media, individual privacy has never been more vulnerable. This is especially because social media provides cybercriminals with multiple entry points to one’s personal, financial, and business information.

Fortunately, most social media platforms offer tools and services for monitoring and preventing hacker activity. To prevent cybercriminals from doing irreparable damage to your online accounts and identity, we’ve outlined the signs of a “hacked” account below as well as the steps to address breaches.

Facebook

As the world’s largest social media hub, the platform implements a wide range of security tools and features to ensure full protection of their 2.7 billion monthly active users. However, sophisticated cybercrime methods can often circumvent these safeguards and gain unauthorized access to one’s account.

Facebook’s Security and Login page offers a full overview of a user’s login sessions, including the device used, login date, device location, and IP address. Individuals can use this access history to pinpoint any suspicious logins, and take further action as necessary.

Instagram

Instagram also offers the option of viewing your login history. To check for suspicious activity, simply go to the Instagram Settings page and select Login Activity. The data displayed should include all devices currently logged into your account, their location, and the time of login. Any unrecognized sessions or devices should be logged out of your profile immediately.

Twitter

Twitter offers a simple overview of one’s recent login history, with the option to instantly remove any suspicious third-party apps.

To review this data on a desktop computer, go to Settings and privacy > Account > Apps and sessions > Account access history.

After confirming your password, the page will then draw a list of all recorded login activity, down to the exact date and time. If you spot any apps you don’t recognize, you can quickly revoke their access on your Connected apps list.

Email platforms

Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, and Yahoo all have comprehensive tools for detecting sketchy logins and account activity.

Gmail’s account access history can be viewed under Last Account Activity, a detailed log of all sign-in sessions on your account. These records include the type of device used to log in, the location and IP address of the device, and the exact login time (displayed in your time zone). Users have the option of signing out of “all other web sessions” should they spot any suspicious activity.

They can then perform a thorough security check from their Google security dashboard, helping them assess all their connected third-party apps and current authentication settings. Google’s security dashboard also notifies users if there are any compromised or reused passwords across all their accounts.

Microsoft Outlook also offers a full, detailed overview of an account’s access history, along with the session type (i.e., Was it to create an account? Was it a successful login?) and the browser or app used. This can be accessed on their Security page under Review Activity.

Take back control: Tips for reinforcing security

To ensure or reinstate protection of your online accounts, we recommend the following:

  • Get in touch with support – Every large social media platform has a unique procedure for recovering compromised accounts. You may be asked to provide information about the breach (or threat of a breach), and then offered suggestions on the next steps to take. This is the best first step to taking back control, as a website’s support team would know the platform inside out and the best ways to secure it.
  • Change your passwords immediately – This may stop hackers in their tracks and prevent further damage. Be sure to update your accounts with stronger passwords unique to each one.
  • Implement multifactor authentication (MFA) – MFA offers layered security to one’s login process, requiring more credentials (on top of a user’s login password) to validate one’s access.
  • Install an antivirus – To protect your entire device from potential breaches, it may be worth investing in antivirus software. Such programs can help flag malicious websites or prevent malware from — tools often used by criminals to access one’s private accounts — entering your system.

Secure your online presence with In-Touch IT

In-Touch IT currently offers comprehensive security solutions to help you maintain protective control of your data. Our experts provide a proactive approach to cybersecurity, complete with planning, implementation, auditing, and monitoring services. Contact us today to find out more.


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