Compromised E-mail

CNSNext Internet (including,,, and has recently noticed an escalation in compromised PC’s and email accounts. As a reminder, CNSNext will never ask for your email credentials and customers should take care to protect their passwords to maintain their security.

You can also be sure your accounts and devices are protected by making sure that you install and maintain anti-virus and anti-malware protection software. CNSNext offers AVG Cloud Care, but there are other options available customers may choose. Whether you use a free service or other virus protection software, it is important to be sure that you are protecting your accounts and devices.

If you find your email account is hacked, here are several steps you need to take to maintain your computer’s safety:

1. Check your computer’s security. Most hackers collect passwords using malware that has been installed on your computer (or mobile phone if you have a smartphone). No matter which operating system you use, be sure your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are up to date. Choose the setting that will automatically update your computer when new security fixes are available. If you cannot afford security software, choose one of the free security suites available. To find these, type ’best free security software reviews’ into your search engine.

2. Be sure that all operating system updates are also installed. To find these, type ’(the name of your operating system) and updates’ into your search engine. Set your computer to update automatically so that you are protected from new attacks as soon as possible.

3. Change your password and make it stronger. Do this after your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are updated or the hackers may collect your new password as well.

  • Strong passwords do not have to be hard to remember; they just have to be hard to guess.
  • Make your password at least 10 characters long. Use a combination of capital letters, lower case letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Do not use information about yourself or someone close to you (including your dog or cat!), such as name, age, or city.
  • Do not use words that can be found in a dictionary. These are easy for hackers to break, even if you spell them backwards.
  • Text messaging shortcuts can help make strong, memorable password creation easier. For example L8rL8rNot2Day! translates to later, later, not today.

4. Send an email to your contacts explaining you were hacked. When an email comes from someone you know, you are more likely to open it and click on links within it - even if the subject is weird. Help stop the spread of the malware by warning those in your contact list to be cautious of any email sent by you that doesn’t seem right, and to not click on the links.

5. Become familiar with common phishing techniques, spam and scams. Spam comes at us from all angles; in the mailbox in front of your home (junk mail) in your email inbox, via IM, social networking sites, chats, forums, websites, and sadly, now also on your phone. There are many ways scammers try to entice us via our email. Some of these might be through claims that someone in a foreign country is trying to send you money, a claim that you’ve won the lottery, or other false claims promising you money. Likewise, be wary of unsolicited emails from any stranger asking for a response, emails with special offers from pharmacies you are unfamiliar with or miracle weight loss or other cures.

6. No reputable bank or company is ever going to ask you to 'authenticate' information online. If you receive an email with a link to one of these sites, don’t use it; instead, use your search engine to find the site yourself, and then log in. If the message was legitimate, the message will be waiting for you in your account.

7. Validate the legitimacy of any program/game/app/video/song before downloading it. According to a study released in June 2011 by Microsoft, one out of every 14 programs downloaded by users is later shown to be malware, or having malware attached to it. If content is pirated, free, or comes to you anonymously, assume it has malware. Only download content that you have read good reviews about from sites you can trust.

If you need assistance with your email account or believe you have an infected computer, CNSNext technicians can help. You can reach Technical Support Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the number listed below for your city:

Cairo (229) 377-9515
Camilla | Pelham | Baconton (229) 336-7857
Doerun | Norman Park | Moultrie (229) 891-3264
Thomasville (229) 227-7086