Online security has always been a great concern for all Internet users since the advent of cyber crimes, especially hacking. The term hacking is frightening even today because one can never know when and how his/her account may get hacked leading to severe loss of financial and intellectual property. Figures from anonymous sources reveal that 90% of all businesses have suffered from some sort of computer hacking circumstances. Emails are the most obvious and the convenient channels through which hackers can manage to install the backdoor program on your computer. After installing the backdoor program on your PC, the hacker will not need much time to gain access of all the intellectual property stored on your computer or emails. There are numerous reported cases of email hacking where someone else (hacker) has gained illegitimate access of users’ email account without their consent. Once an email account is hacked, it’s up to the hacker’s whim to decide how much damage he wants to cause. Therefore, it is important for every email account user to remain attentive about email hacking. If you don’t educate yourself on email hacking and its symptoms, then you won’t be able to identify that your email account has been compromised. This can be a very risky situation as the intellectual property that you store in your email and computer can be misused in ways that you can’t even think of. Moreover, a hacked email account is always used as a medium to further circulate the malware and viruses across a computer network. Means if your email account has been hacked and you are not doing anything to undo it then unknowingly you might be contributing to cyber crime racket. Symptoms That Your Mail Account Has Been Hacked Just by getting little bit conscious, you can judge if your email account has been compromised. Following are the most obvious symptoms that a hacked account projects: Your Inbox is full of Sent mail rejection notices for emails you haven’t sent Email contacts in your list are receiving unusual emails from you that you haven’t sent Your Sent, Drafts or Outbox folders have outgoing messages that you haven’t drafted or sent Your account folders have been emptied or deleted Contacts in your Address Book have been erased You are asked to pass an image challenge while you try to sign-in or send a message Emails sent by you are getting bounced New contacts, not created by you, have got added to your Address Book Your Display Name has been changed A new link, without your knowledge, have got added to your email signature You are not receiving emails or they are going straight into your Saved IMs folder Steps to Take After Email Account Is Compromised If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, then most likely your email account has been hacked. To stop further damage to your data and PC, you need to take certain preventive measures. Change your password: The first thing you need to do after realizing that your account has been hacked is to change the password. Do you know that even if you use a six character long lowercase password, it can be cracked barely in 10 minutes? But if your password has two more characters and a few uppercase letters, then it will take 3 years to crack that password. And if you create a password of 9 characters, some numbers and symbol then it will become a very strong password, which will require 44,530 years to be cracked. Update security software: Always keep your PC’s operating system, Firewall and antivirus program updated to prevent email hacking. Recover your account: If you are having difficulty in logging into your Gmail account, you need to do a quick account recovery. For this, click on the “Forget Password” option to get instructions on how to do the account recovery. Let your email account contacts know that you have been hacked: The moment you realize that your account has been compromised and some faulty emails have been sent from your account, make a point to inform all the email contacts in your list. Shoot them emails such as “My account had been hacked and the emails you received in last few days were neither in my knowledge nor intentional.” This will let your contacts know that the emails received from your address are actually spam emails and that they should not open those mails in their computers. Apart from adopting the aforementioned preventive measures, it is also important that you should personally practice healthy mailing habits to prevent email hacking. Never share your password with anyone. Be alert to judge phishing attempts and spam emails. Always keep your antivirus software and operating system (OS) up-to-date and never turn off the firewall. While using public computers to access your emails take extra precaution. Likewise, stay cautious while connecting to an open Wi-Fi hotspot. Learn to distinguish between spam and real mails and avoid clicking on the links posted on spam emails. If you consistently practice preventive measures, you will be able to avoid your account hacking or at least you will quickly be able to identify that you have been hacked. Accordingly, you can eventually take up the preventive measures.