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Hacked? Here's what you'll need to do

6:47 AM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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Federal authorities are investigating a website that leaked personal information on government officials including FBI Director Robert Mueller and celebrities including Jay-Z and Kim Kardashian.

It's another sign that anyone can fall victim to an attack by savvy hackers. So, what should you do if your accounts get hacked? Here are some tips.

Call your bank and/or credit agencies. If your personal or financial information has been compromised, contact the appropriate institutions as soon as possible. Banks can review and - most likely - halt any transactions made by another person.

Also, get a copy of your credit report. It's free, and gives you quick access to any accounts that are open or may have been opened in your name. Users can also set up a free fraud alert at one of the three major agencies - Experian, Equifax or Transunion. It lasts three months, and requires any creditor to contact you by phone when a request to issue credit is made. You can also opt to freeze your credit to prevent anyone - yourself included - from opening a line of credit.

Scan and update your computer. Perform an antivirus scan to ensure there's no malware or other virus looming on your computer. Also, make sure your computer is running the latest version of its operating system.

Update and bolster your passwords. If you discover your social network account such as Facebook or Twitter has been hacked, request a password reset immediately. Users will get an email with a link they can click to begin the process. If details such as email have already been changed, most sites have a process for recovering your account.

If the compromised account features a password you have used for other online accounts, change those too.

When choosing passwords, make them as complex as possible. Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols when creating a password, and use several passwords for multiple sites.

Once you've created your passwords, if you have approved permissions to any third-party apps, disable that option.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to stay vigilant. No one is immune to hacking, but quickly responding to an incident can make the experience less stressful.

USA TODAY

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