My Email Has Been Hacked … Now What Do I Do?

By Larry Darnell, FDA Director of Information Systems

First, do not freak out — email hacks are quite common. Determine if it is just your email that has been hacked and not your computer. If the computer you work on the most is not showing any signs of trouble (pop-ups, browser redirects, etc.), then it is likely that only your email account has been hacked.

Log in to your email and change your password immediately and try to update to a two-step (or two-factor) authentication password method. This will keep individuals from seizing your account so easily in the future. I also would recommend that you change any other passwords that are based on your email password. Most people use a variation of one password for life; thus, the name life password. After you have done that, email, text or call your contacts and let them know your email has been hacked and not to open anything from you.

 

My Computer Has a Pop-up That Says it Has a Virus … What Do I Do Now?

By Larry Darnell, FDA Director of Information Systems

Every once in a while, you may get a pop-up on your screen claiming your computer has a virus and to remove it, you must call the number shown immediately. I have come across a number of people who will look at a pop-up like this on their computer and do one of two things:

  1. Ignore it.
  2. Do exactly as it says.

I am mystified that some may do as the pop-up says, but we have been conditioned to this type of behavior. The criminal element realizes that, so they craft malware. Malware, although technically not a virus, is software that pretends to be useful, but is in fact malicious — thus, the name. Most anti-virus programs are built to stop the bad viruses … not so much the malware.

Malware most often is installed  because we choose to do it. It may come in the form of an extra toolbar on our browser, a coupon program or some other seemingly helpful software. We open the door and let it in, and then it takes over. I have known people to blindly call someone and give them access to their computer remotely and even their credit card information based on malware (or, as we call it “scareware” or “ransomware”)! I recommend you take the computer to a professional and get their opinion. If you opt to try and fix it yourself, a couple of programs that are helpful are Malwarebytes and HitmanPro; both can help eliminate your problem.

Please do not choose to ignore it. That will only make it worse, that much I can promise you.