You’ve Been Hacked Online. Now What?
It’s a scary situation to be in. But if you find you’ve been hacked online, don’t panic. Instead, jump into action.
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a perfect time to learn more about how you can stay safe online. Frontier has you covered, and can level up your connection with Total Shield and Identity Protection, software that covers Multi-Device Security, VPN Privacy and Password Management.
But if you’ve been hacked online already, there are several manageable steps you can take to reclaim your info and strengthen your identity protection going forward. We’ll walk you through those steps below. But first, let’s answer a few questions, so you know what we mean when we talk about getting hacked.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal identifying information and uses it to commit crimes.
Hackers can break into online platforms where you have information stored and steal it from there. Institutions in industries like banking and healthcare are subject to strict regulations when it comes to online security, but they’re not invulnerable. Hackers have an easier time breaking into less regulated or less safeguarded places, like small businesses, social media platforms or online subscriptions. Check out Frontier’s Security support and enhance your safety online with easily downloaded software that protects you from identity theft.
How do I know if I got hacked?
Always check your account statements. If you notice activity that you didn’t authorize on any sort of account you have, including your email, credit cards, utilities, social media, bank accounts or online subscriptions, it’s a good indication that you were hacked.
Sometimes, you may receive a fraud notification from an institution like your bank or an insurance company, notifying you of suspicious activity. Other times, you might get a note from a friend, telling you they received an email or saw a social media post “from you” that didn’t really sound like something you would write.
Hackers are always getting more and more sophisticated and can mimic your behavior to fly under the radar while using your info for their own gain.
What do I do when I get hacked?
Here are three important things you can do right away:
- Cancel any charges or affected cards, or regain access to your account. If you’ve noticed unauthorized charges on a bank card, immediately call your bank. They’ll walk you through next steps, including identifying which charges were fraudulent, cancelling your current card and sending you a new one. If your data breach was elsewhere, like on an email account or an online shopping platform, a hacker may have already changed your password and blocked you from accessing the platform. Contact that platform’s customer service department to confirm your identity, inform them of the breach and regain access to the account.
- Change your passwords. As soon as you’re back into your account, make sure to change your password, so that the cyber criminal is blocked from accessing your information. If you’ve had your identity stolen, you might not know which platform a hacker used to get your information in the first place, so it’s smart to change your password across your different devices and online accounts. This way, they won’t be able to use the information they have to access any more info. To keep track of the different ones, check out our guide to using a password manager.
- Let people know. If you fear your social security information has been compromised, immediately contact the Social Security Administration and follow their instructions. If your email or a social media account was hacked, you may also want to let friends and family know. Some hackers send messages to friends in a voice that sounds eerily like yours, making requests for money—perhaps pretending that you’re stranded in a foreign country without access to your bank card, or have a medical emergency that requires a quick infusion of cash. Giving people a heads-up can help them be on the lookout for a scammer imitating you.
Preparation is the best protection
Remember the best lines of defense: Use strong passwords and multifactor authentication, recognize and report phishing and always install software updates. Here are a few proactive steps you can take to avoid another attack going forward:
- Start using security software. A suite of security software is a smart move for the average consumer. Look for tools for multi-device security, identity protection and password management. Antivirus software routinely scans your devices and checks for signs of a cybersecurity threat. If you use devices on public Wi-Fi networks (say, if you work from a coffee shop or travel often), you can also get a virtual private network (VPN) that masks your IP address.
- Implement multifactor identification when possible. This looks a little different depending on your device or the online platform, but you can typically find this under Settings or Security. When in doubt, get in touch with customer service to enable the settings you need.
- Choose smart answers for recovery questions. When you can’t remember a user name or password, a website will often ask you to answer a recovery security question. Popular questions include your mother’s maiden name, or a street you lived on in childhood. Thanks to social media and Google, these are questions that could potentially be answered by complete strangers. Many security experts recommend coming up with a few fake answers to these questions that you’ll remember, rather than using real identifying information that could leave you vulnerable to attack.
- Update your home network’s security. We’ve got a whole guide to your own Wi-Fi security right here. The manageable steps include updating your router credentials, checking your router’s security protocol and making sure your software is up to date.
Don’t feel bad about getting hacked—cyber criminals are experts at exploiting vulnerabilities, but you can be smart about minimizing those vulnerabilities going forward.
Frontier Fiber is built for the way you live today—and tomorrow
If you’re still on the lookout for the right ultrafast internet connection for streaming, gaming, working from home and running your smart home—all with enough bandwidth for everyone—find out about Frontier Fiber. Frontier Fiber is available in select areas—check here to see when it’s available at your address. Once you have it, keep your identity and devices protected with Frontier’s security support.
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