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E-mail gat hacked... how? and now what?


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Light Knight

Light Knight


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Hello friends, 


On the weekend, my (mostly) spam e-mail account got hacked. It was an old Hotmail account I used for not-too-personal accounts (like forums, game logins, etc). Thankfully, there weren't able to do much damage, but it has been very annoying having to secure a dozen or so other accounts, and I am always concerned I missed something. I have turned on 2-step authentication with MS's Authenticator app, so hopefully we are in the clear. But my main concern is: how did they access it in the first place, wouldn't that mean my network or home PC is compromised? Let me break the events down:


  1. Two Fridays ago, I want to download and play the new Cities: Skylines 2 game on my PC. I need to log into my Paradox Games account (not to purchase, just to link it), and forgot my password. I reset the password, and need to log into my old e-mail account which I hadn't logged into for months. 
  2. On my PC still, I use a browser to access outlook and reset my hotmail password because I had forgotten it (I never log into it). I successfully log in, nothing looks fishy. 
  3. (I don't notice this until Tuesday, as I don't look at this account much) but on Saturday, the hackers get in and start trying to access personal accounts, like Facebook (thankfully, it's not connected to my personal account), and they send hundreds of spam e-mails from my address Saturday and Sunday. 
  4. On Tuesday I notice it and start securing everything. By Tuesday evening I have the authenticator app installed and I notice, till this day, someone is attempting to log in several times an hour from all over the world. On BOTH my spam and personal account, btw. What is interesting is that at least 95% of the attempts show up as "incorrect password", but maybe twice since then, I got an authenticator request of someone trying to log into my old hotmail account. At first, I thought it means they must have gotten my new password, but, correct me if I'm wrong, it could simply be someone clicked the "Forgot my password" button, and it's going to the authenticator app, right?
  5. My PC doesn't seem to have any other signs of malware, but I downloaded and ran HouseCall anyway, and turned on my VPN (it wasn't on during the breach)


Also, on Monday and Tuesday, it looks like the hackers send a few automated e-mails from my account, informing others of the compromised account. The pic is attached.



Anyway, do I need to do anything else? How did they get in in the first place? I likely had a half dozen random tabs open on firefox and chrome. I also live in a completely detached house with maybe one neighbor in wifi range. Do I need to do anything else to secure my network?





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My PC doesn't seem to have any other signs of malware, but I downloaded and ran HouseCall anyway, and turned on my VPN (it wasn't on during the breach)



If you suspect that your computer has been compromised security wise it is the law enforcement agency for your country that you need to contact; Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

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