Help! I have been hacked

It can happen to anyone: you’ve been hacked. Whether it is due to a virus on your computer or through a hacked account, it is always a stressful situation. In this article, we explain what to do if you have been hacked, how to recognize if you have been hacked, and the difference between a virus and a hacked account. We also give you some useful tips to prevent future hacks.

This article is written for you as a person. Are you a business and need help? If so, please contact us.

What does it mean to be hacked?

Being hacked means that someone has gained access to your computer, network, or account without your permission. This can happen in a variety of ways, and the impact can range from minor inconveniences to serious financial or personal damage.

Hacked by a virus

A virus is a type of malware (malicious software) that can infect your computer. Once infected, a virus can perform various harmful actions, such as stealing your personal data, damaging your files or rendering your computer unusable.

In practice, phones are rarely hacked. This is because this requires a so-called zero-day vulnerability. These are enormously expensive, up to 10 million being paid for them. This ensures that often only secret services can do this, for criminals it is more advantageous to sell the vulnerability rather than take advantage of it. Still notice unexpected behavior on your phone? Then probably the account you are logged into on your phone has been hacked. For Android, that’s your Google account; for Apple iOS, it’s your iCloud account.

Hacked through an account

In a hacked account, a cybercriminal has gained access to one of your online accounts, such as your email, social media, or bank account. This can happen due to weak passwords, phishing attacks, or data breaches where your login credentials have been captured.

How do you know if you have been hacked?

There are several signs that may indicate that you have been hacked:

Signs of a virus

  1. Slow computer performance: If your computer suddenly becomes sluggish for no apparent reason, it may indicate a virus.
  2. Unexpected pop-ups: Regular pop-ups or unwanted ads may indicate a malware infection. Your browser may also give pop-ups with advertisements. In this case, you don’t have a virus, but you probably gave permission somewhere for a website to send you notifications. You can turn this off in your program’s settings.
  3. Unknown programs: If you see programs you didn’t install, this could be a sign of a virus.
  4. Your files have been encrypted: Ransomware encrypts your files on your ocmputer.

Signs of a hacked account

  1. Unknown activity: Check your account activity regularly. Unknown login attempts or changes indicate a possible hack.
  2. Blocked accounts: If you are suddenly unable to access your account and the password is not recognized, it could mean you have been hacked.
  3. Notifications of (suspicious) activity: Many online services send notifications when they detect suspicious activity. Take these seriously.

What to do if you’ve been hacked?

Steps in the event of a virus

  1. Use an antivirus program: Run a full scan with a reliable antivirus program and remove all detected threats.
  2. Update your software: Make sure your operating system and all software are up-to-date to prevent future infections.
  3. Follow the steps in case of a hacked account: cybercriminals may have taken over your accounts via your computer.

Steps in the event of a hacked account

  1. Change your passwords: Immediately change the password of the hacked account and all other accounts using the same password.
  2. Report the hack to the service: Contact the customer service of the service in question to notify them of the hack and ask for help in restoring your account.
  3. Turn on 2FA: If accounts do not already have Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) turned on do so.
  4. Check active sessions: check if any sessions are still active and log them out if possible. Many sessions automatically log out after a certain amount of time, do check this.
  5. Check your other accounts: Check if other accounts have also been hacked and take action if necessary (see steps 1 to 4) for the active accounts.

How to prevent future hacks?

  1. Use strong, unique passwords: Avoid simple passwords and use a unique password for each account.
  2. Activate two-step verification: This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts.
  3. Be alert to phishing: Don’t click on suspicious links and never share your personal information via email or phone without verification.
  4. Keep your software up-to-date: Regular updates often include security patches that protect you from new threats.
  5. Install a reliable antivirus program: A good antivirus program can detect and remove many types of malware.

Which agency should you turn to for help?

It can be difficult to determine when to seek professional help after a hack. Below we indicate when and with which agency you should seek help:

  1. Police: In serious cases of identity theft, financial fraud or if you are threatened after a hack, you should contact the police. They can start an official investigation and advise you on further steps.
  2. Security company: If you still can’t get rid of the hack despite these tips, you can contact a security company. There are often fees associated with this.
  3. Victim Support: If you are suffering emotionally or psychologically from the consequences of a hack, such as identity theft or online stalking, Victim Support can assist you. They offer emotional support and practical help to help you through this difficult time.
    • Slachtofferhulp Nederland: This organization provides support to people who have been victims of crime, including cybercrime.
  4. Bank and financial institutions: If your bank account has been hacked or your credit card information stolen, you should contact your bank immediately. They can freeze your account, investigate fraud and help you recover stolen money.


Getting hacked is an unpleasant experience, but by acting quickly and effectively, you can limit the damage. Whether you’re dealing with a virus or a hacked account, it’s important to know what to do and how to protect yourself from future attacks. Follow the steps above and stay alert to keep your digital life safe.

With these tips and information, you are better prepared to deal with the consequences of a hack and can better protect yourself from future threats. Remember to regularly review and update your security measures. This will keep you one step ahead of cybercriminals.