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Hijacked Account

Seeking help

Steps to take if you suspect your online accounts are hijacked.

Learn how to

A suspicious email...

Brenda receives an email from her service provider alerting her that her social media account password has recently changed. She suspects her social media account has been hijacked.
She needs to know if she still has access to the account, and if not, who she can reach out to for help. Brenda is worried that if she doesn't regain control, her social media account will be used to hurt her reputation.

Get back control of your account

Use a different computer

Move to a different computer that you believe to be safe or uncompromised. If you continue using an unsafe computer, you risk putting yourself and others at harm.

Change your password

Log into your account from the new computer and change the password on your account. Changing your password is the fastest way to regain control of your account.

Change passwords for linked accounts

Change the passwords for all your other online accounts that are linked to your hijacked account. For example, if you are looking at an email account and it is the recovery address for another account, change the password for that account as well.

Is account hijacked?

Now time to confirm if your suspicions are founded? The next instructions will help you determine if your account has been hijacked.

Stop using account

Until you better understand the situation we recommend you stop using this account for sharing sensitive information.

Change your password

Confirm if your account has been hijacked

Review account history

For some platforms (e.g. Facebook, Gmail), it is possible to review connection history and account activity. This will let you know if your account has been accessed by someone else.

Unfamiliar location

Check to see if your account was accessed at a time when you were not online or if your account was accessed from an unfamiliar location or IP address.

Are you using Tor?

Be mindful that if you are using the Tor browser or a VPN service, it is possible that the location or IP address may differ from the location you have accessed the platform.

Review our account activity

Other places to check for suspicious activity

Step 1: Email forwarding

Check for suspicious addresses which your email might be automatically forwarding your emails to.

Step 2: Password recovery

Also check email addresses or phone numbers listed when you're resetting your password (this might be called password recovery settings).

Step 3: Other account permissions

Also look at the settings for the synchronisation to your phone, permissions to applications or other account permissions.

Deal with being locked out of your account

Password reset

If you cannot log into your account, use the password reset or recovery link.

Changing your password

Some providers will send a link to change your password to your recovery email address, while other platforms reset it to your last password.

Contact your provider

If these steps do not work and your account is being abused, contact the platform provider directly. Most providers have a "Support" page where you can find out how to do this.

Helpful organisations

There are a number of organisations who can help you with this process.

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  • en/topics/practice-1-emergencies/0-getting-started: Find out about other types of emergencies
  • en/topics/understand-2-security/0-getting-started: Dig deeper on various aspects of security
  • en/topics/understand-3-opsec/0-getting-started: Find out about what operational security or opsec means
  • en/topics/understand-4-digisec/0-getting-started: Learn more about important concepts of digital security
  • en/topics/pratice-4-safe-social-networks/0-getting-started: Find out more about social networking platforms.

To learn more about dealing with emergencies, see also: