My password has been stolen! What do I do now?!
It is estimated that the average person has almost 30 different logins for their online lives. And with each requiring a password it’s no wonder that people choose something simple they can remember, and use it over and over again.
But what happens when your password is stolen, and what you should you do if you think it has been compromised?
- Check online
https://haveibeenpwned.com/ is an excellent resource to let you know if your password has been stolen. Simply enter your email address and you’ll immediately know if your account has been comprised.
The site has hundreds of millions of records of hacked accounts including those from LinkedIn, MySpace, Adobe, badoo and tumblr.
If your email comes up, you need to change your password for those accounts as soon as possible.
2. Assess the problem
Sometimes it’s hard to know if your password has been stolen. If you can’t log into your account, try resetting your password by clicking the “Forgot your password” link.
Hackers sometimes steal passwords, and then change the email address associated with the account. So if you try to reset your password, and the email never arrives in your inbox after multiple attempts, there is a possibility that your account is hacked. In this case, contact the website directly to explain the situation.
If you receive the ‘change password’ email, and you can successfully reset it, chances are you’ll be ok.
3. Think about further breaches
If you know your password is stolen, you need to think if this password is associated with any other accounts. You should never use the same password for your email and Facebook for instance, as once a hacker has access to your email and password on one service, they will often try to log into other popular sites. If your password is stolen, and it’s used with other accounts, you need to change all of them immediately – and make sure each account has a different password!
Of course, it can be difficult to remember which password is used for which service when we have so many accounts. So, many people are starting to use password managers like Dashlane and 1Password. This way you create one, very strong password, to log in, and then the software creates very complex passwords like n3?£$(s9d782h! for your online accounts. You don’t need to remember these, as the apps do that for you.
4. Monitor for evidence
If you think your password is stolen, you will want to monitor your banking services to look for anomalies. If your email is hacked, ask your friends if they have seen any spam messages from you.
5. Notify the relevant company
If the stolen password is associated with a service you pay for, like your mobile phone, electricity, or insurance, give the customer service team a call to let them know. They will be able to keep tabs for any suspicious activity on your account.
The final piece of advice we can give is that you need to create a secure password that can’t be easily guessed. This won’t protect you if the hackers steal directly from a website, but it will stop them using programs to guess it.