Update: 27/1/17 – MSN Messenger is gone now. This page is no longer relevant.
Quite often I will see a friend of mine has had their MSN account hacked, the hacked account will then send out spam to all their contacts that will look something like this:
2:46:51 AM ***Name Removed***: phewww +o( unbelivable, is that you??? who ever is it…is really similar to you lol …
There are a few ways that your password can be stolen:
- Through a Key Logger on your computer – A program that is designed to record everything you type on the keyboard and sends it off to a computer somewhere else in the world. (Unlikely, but possible)
- A virus on your computer that is sending out the spam or stealing your password (also unlikely, but still common)
- An exploit that gains your password if you’ve got the “Remember Password” option ticked in MSN Messenger, this one most people don’t see coming and I’ve heard it is common on websites that have flash games on them. (Sorry, no source for this one, if you do find a source please leave a comment and let me know and I’ll update the post)
- Through a Phishing attack. This occurs when you come across a page asking for your MSN Account details, it could look exactly like the MSN Website. To check if you’re on the official MSN Webpage, it should have something like: http://something.live.com/, if it’s not that, don’t enter your password.
- By clicking the link sent to you by someone from a hacked account. The link will be either a download, a phishing page or a malware infested page that does one of the things from above to get into your account.
The question is: What can I do about it? Well here’s your answer:
First up, change your password!
You can do this by going to https://account.live.com this is the official MSN account management page.
This method usually stops most types of spam right away.
What if you have forgotten your password or it has changed?
On the Live Account management page, there is an option for forgotten password, click the link and follow the instructions there to reset your password. If you can’t remember your security question then there is nothing else you can do.
There are some other extra things you can to do help protect yourself. If you don’t have any antivirus installed, I suggest you go get some ASAP. I recommend AVG, it’s free and seems to do the job quite well.
If you already have antivirus installed but you’re not quite sure if you can trust it, it helps to get a second opinion, the Panda Security Active Scan is a good free scanner that does a good job at removing anything major. Best of all, it doesn’t need to install itself to run, it runs entirely in your web browser.
Next, if you’re still using Internet Explorer, I suggest you get Firefox, it’s way more secure than Internet Explorer and acts as another layer of protection from certain Internet Explorer only exploits.
Windows Updates – If you have updates turned off on your computer, I suggest you at least go and update it once a month or so. The Windows Updates include patches that block a lot of the exploits that viruses use to get into your computer.
You can get to this by going: Start -> Control Panel -> Security -> Windows Update
These methods have helped keep my MSN account hack free and have worked for friends of mine to help them get their MSN accounts back in their control.