How Can You Recover a Hacked Outlook Account? Our Step-by-Step Guide
Is My Outlook Account Really in Danger?
Microsoft has more than enough market-leading solutions for its users, and Outlook is definitely one of them. Essentially, it’s a personal info manager that includes a contacts list, a calendar, and various so-called “task services.” It’s a rather popular app, and that means it’s constantly under attack by hackers.
In this regard, as stated in the Total AV review by Jack Wallen, one can suffer a phishing attack coming from a “perfectly legitimate” looking email and experience data loss. So, what can a user do when he/she finds out that their account has been hacked and stolen? Is there a way to recover an account before it’s too late, or not?
Join us, and let’s go through our step-by-step guide on how to get back access to your Outlook account. You won’t need any third-party tools, and this won’t cost you a penny.
#1: Get Rid of Malware on the OS
If your account was stolen, that means someone got their hands on your login/password and now has access to your personal data. And while you can just go ahead and change the password, it might be that there’s malware installed and running on your PC. That’s why the first step should be getting rid of all the malicious code. Users that have a third-party antivirus program have the advantage of running a full scan of the system.
Or, you can always rely on the built-in Microsoft solutions for that. Windows 7 has Security Essentials, while Win 8.1 and 10 come with the more advanced Defender. It’s highly recommended to always keep your antivirus active. If not, hit the Start menu, enter “Windows Defender” in the Search box/select it from the list, and follow the instructions to turn it on.
#2: Change your Password
>Once that’s done, it will be time to change the password. Sign in to your existing Outlook account, and set a brand-new password. It’s essential to make sure that it’s a potent combination, not a simple set of numbers and characters that are easy to crack. Sometimes, it’s impossible to log into an account. If that’s the case, reset it.
Don’t forget to take a good look at the account settings. The reason: since the hackers had access to it, it’s very well possible that they changed something to their liking. Plus, the settings are reset automatically whenever someone signs in from a different IP.
#3: Get to Restoring
>This is the easiest step. As soon as Outlook detects suspicious activity on your account, it begins to store deleted messages in a safe, secure environment. Here’s what you can do to bring them back:
- Go to the Deleted Items folder
- Hit the “Recover deleted messages” option in the top corner
- The app will recover all the saved messages. You’ll find them in the same folder (Deleted Items).
That’s pretty much it!
How Do Cybercriminals Get Their Hands On User Accounts?
So, how do hackers find a way to steal access to your account? They use three different techniques for that:
- Malware. The experts recommend only downloading new software from trusted publishers and legit websites. Unfortunately, many users download apps from suspicious/dangerous sources. We’re talking about screensavers, different toolbars, and new icons for the desktop – stuff like that. Unregistered and untested apps can sometimes include malicious code that finds and copies stored passwords from the OS or logs keystrokes.
- Phishing. You might already be familiar with phishing. The term is used to describe a fraudulent email, an SMS message, or even a phone call that seems to come from a legit source. Hackers often mask as someone you know, a bank official, or a government representative. Next, they trick users into sharing personal data.
- Widespread attacks. It’s not rare for cybercriminals to chaotically hack hundreds of sites just to get access to user accounts. Chances are the same logins/passwords from a random site were used for a bank account (or, as in our case, a Microsoft Outlook account).
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?
And now let’s talk about the best ways to protect your account from a hacker attack:
- Email. Always be careful when opening an email and look for that green “trusted sender” icon. Attachments downloaded from an email with a yellow or red flag can (and probably will) be malicious. In most cases, Outlook blocks any attachments inside of a potentially dangerous email, but not always. That’s why you need to NEVER download anything unless you’re 100% sure the source is legit.
- Logging in. We recommend signing in only from your own computer/mobile device. Or, it should be a gadget/desktop device that you trust. Signing in from a public computer (like in a computer club or something like that) tends to be dangerous. It may have a keylogger installed that will steal your credentials. The good news is – you can request a single-use code for logging in. That way, you won’t have to worry about safety.
More things you should do:
- Enable two-step verification
- Make sure you’ve got the latest OS updates installed
- Never reply to an email/text asking for logins/passwords
- Don’t use the same logins/passwords for different accounts