Collection 1: what to do if your email address has been hacked

Collection 1 is a huge file listing 73 million email addresses and 21 million hacked passwords. If your email account is one of the victims of this massive hacking, we invite you to act as soon as possible. Here is what you absolutely must do to limit breakage. 

Collection 1: what to do if your email address has been hacked

On January 17, 2019, cybersecurity specialist Troy Hunt revealed the existence of the Collection 1 file, which lists 87 GB of stolen email addresses and passwords. To find out if you are affected by this colossal data breach, we invited you to go to haveibeenpwned.com.



What if your email address is part of Collection 1?

If you haven't been hacked, good for you! If you are not so lucky, we advise you to act as soon as possible. It is not known whether the stolen data has ever been misused. Thereby, you must make sure that the hacked data cannot be used by the pirates. 

Change the password of your email address

Start urgently first with change the password of your email address. This way, a hacker will no longer be able to use his theft against you. Be careful, don't choose just anything. Choose a unique password, which is not already in use by another of your accounts. As a reminder, 59% of Internet users use the same password for all their accounts.

Read also: how to choose a good, really secure password

In the same way, obviously avoid the 123456, password, 123456789, 12345678… Also leave the classic diagram, with a capital letter at the beginning and a symbol placed at the end. Simply choose a long and complex code, which mixes punctuation, symbols, numbers and letters. To choose the perfect combination, we invite you to go through a password generator to make your job easier. We recommend for example LastPass or DashLane.



Changing your answers to security questions

In the wake, take the opportunity to change all your answers to the security questions. Opt for private responses, which only you know. According to a Google study, too many users answer, for example, pizza to the question "What is your favorite food?" ". Go further and answer for example “pineapple pizza with a slice of salmon, bacon and 3 Mexican peppers”.

Enable two-factor authentication

On a related note, make sure that a hacker hasn't turned on XNUMX-step verification for you. If so, he can change your account password as he sees fit. So delete the recovery email address or phone number. Then activate double authentication to secure your account. The option allows for example to send you a code on your smartphone. To access your mailbox, you will need to enter your account on your PC. We show you how to enable two-step Google verification on Gmail.

Change the password of all your online accounts

As said above, we do not know if a hacker has already used the Collection 1 file. It is possible that a hacker has already connected to your email address. In your mailbox, for example, he was able to seize your Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, or Paypal password. As a precaution, we therefore invite you to change the password of all your online accounts. This operation may seem tedious, but prevention is better than cure!


Check if your computer has not been infected with a virus

In some cases, a hacker can also take the opportunity to hide dangerous viruses in your mailbox, which will infect your computer as soon as you log on, reports Kaspersky, a famous antivirus. To prevent malware from lying around, run a full scan with your antivirus. If you don't know which one to choose, here is the list of the best antivirus for Windows 10.


Notify all your contacts

Once you've taken all of the above precautions, don't hesitate to notify your entire contact directory that you've been the victim of a hack. Indeed, when the hacker logged in to your account, he was able to take the opportunity to spread malware by email to all your friends and relations.




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