My Computer Was Hacked

A picture denoting that it's not likely that your computer was hacked.

We often get phone calls from people telling us “My computer was hacked.” My response normally is, “Not likely!”

What Probably Happened

A keyboard showing a key in red "E-Mail hacked."

Why “My computer was hacked” Is Probably False

Despite what you might think, hacking a home computer is rarely high on a hacker’s To-Do list. (He or she is far more likely to work at breaking into servers at both small and large businesses.) Hacking your email, however, is often at the top of his or her docket. Why? Because, even though most people think there’s nothing important in their email, there is. In fact, there’s usually a plethora of information that a hacker could use.

Why Would Someone Hack Your Email Account?

There are a handful of reasons a hacker might want to break into your email.

  • They might want to steal your address book so they can spam your friends and relatives.
  • There’s information in your email that might help them use Social Engineering to trick you into giving up your hard-earned money.
  • Sometimes, hackers just want the bragging rights that come with breaking into people’s email account.
  • Perhaps they just want to be nasty and hack your email because “they can!” Some of the really ugly hackers will delete your address book and all your emails stored on the server.
  • Finally, they are bored and breaking into your email ends the monotony.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Email?

As I’ve stated ad nauseum, next to your master password for your password manager, your email should have your strongest password. (Don’t use your email password for any other log-ins.) Additionally, make sure that your email recovery information is correct. If you changed your recovery email or your recovery phone number, be sure to update that information. Finally, use 2-step authentication, especially with an authenticator app.