Did you know that you can check whether your Microsoft account was hacked by someone else? If you suspect that another person is using your Skype, your Outlook email service, your Xbox ID, or your Microsoft account, you can find the real answer in minutes. Here is what you can do to discover whether you have been hacked or not and how to prevent being hacked in the future:
What is a Microsoft, Hotmail, Skype or Xbox account?
Microsoft has many products and services that people use, through all kinds of accounts: email services like Hotmail or Outlook, Skype IDs, Xbox IDs, or Microsoft accounts that you use to log into Windows 10. Even though you might consider all these accounts different, they are all the same thing: a Microsoft account. Your Hotmail address is a Microsoft account; your Skype account is a Microsoft account, your Xbox ID is a Microsoft account, and so on. To learn more, read this article: Simple questions: What is a Microsoft account (Outlook, Xbox, Skype)?.
How to check the recent activity on your Microsoft/Hotmail account
Open a web browser and go to https://account.microsoft.com. There, log in with your Microsoft account email address and password. If you have enabled two-step verification for your account, you might have to enter a security code that you can receive using an app on your smartphone, a text message or e-mail to another address.
After you are signed in, you see a dashboard of your Microsoft account. In the toolbar on the top, click or tap Security.
Now you see several security-related options. On the right, there is a square called "Review recent activity." Click or tap the "Review activity" button.
At this step, you may be asked to verify your password one more time, because you are trying to access sensitive information. If you are, type your password and press "Sign in."
Now you are shown a log of all your recent login activity, starting with the current session.
Scroll down the list of activities, and expand each one. For each sign-in activity, you see the date and time, its status (successful or unsuccessful sign-in), the device and the platform from where the attempt was performed, the browser that was used, the IP address and the geographical location from where the sign-in attempt originated.
For example, I have learned that someone from Bulgaria tried to access my Microsoft account and did not succeed.
After you check everything in the recent activity log, you know whether someone else has hacked your account.
What to do if your Microsoft account has been hacked
If a sign-in activity is fishy, you should click or tap the link that says "Secure your account." Then, continue with the instructions given by Microsoft to change your password and review your account security.
If your Microsoft account was hacked and the person who hacked it has changed your password, then you are in a terrible situation, and only Microsoft can help you. Go to this page and follow the instructions shared there: Recover your Microsoft account.
How to prevent being hacked?
If you do not want your account hacked, we recommend that you change your Microsoft account password and use a long one, that contains diverse characters and is hard to guess. You should also enable two-step verification and approve sign-in requests using your smartphone. This way, each time someone else authenticates using your hacked password, you can deny the sign-in attempt straight from your smartphone. If you want to know how to do this, read these guides:
- Microsoft Authenticator on Android: Sign into an MS account
- How to set up two-step verification for your Microsoft account with Google Authenticator
Was your Microsoft account hacked?
Most probably you have read this entire article because you suspect that someone else has hacked your Microsoft account or you know somebody did. Before closing this tutorial, share with us what you have learned: Was your Microsoft account compromised? What is the location of the person who did it? Did you recover and secure your account? Comment below and let's discuss.