What you and I can do is very limited.
When accounts are hacked, folks really want to be able to figure out who did this to them. Where did it happen? What computer were they on? Who are they?
The short answer is, you’re extremely unlikely to figure out who hacked your email account. There’s almost nothing you can do.
Law enforcement might
If laws have been broken — if you can involve local law enforcement and they have the time and the expertise to help — then they may have the ability to get more information.
Sometimes, they can even track down an individual.
Several factors make this an extremely rare result:
- Law enforcement doesn’t have time. They must prioritize other, more serious issues needing their attention.
- Law enforcement doesn’t have the expertise. While it is getting better, most law enforcement agencies simply don’t have the technical know-how required for these situations.
- Law enforcement doesn’t have jurisdiction. Hackers are often in other countries, where your law enforcement agencies can’t help.
Even though it’s incredibly important to you, and a personal violation, it’s just not a priority for most law enforcement agencies to help people with hacked accounts.
You’re on your own
If you’re not able to get outside help tracking down the culprit, I advise that you don’t bother trying. It’ll be a frustrating experience, and as you can gather, the chances of finding anything are slim.
What you can do is focus instead on recovery and prevention.
Begin by reading “Email Hacked? 7 Things You Need to Do Now” to make sure you’ve completely recovered your account. Changing your password is not enough, and often leaves your account in a state that allows the hacker to quickly take it over again. There are several steps you need to take.
Learn from the experience. As best you can, figure out how the hacker got your account in the first place, and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. For starters, follow the steps outlined in Internet Safety: 7 Steps to Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet.
Finally, after you’ve secured your account and plugged any leaks, get on with your life.
Let it go.
There’s almost nothing you or I as individuals can do to get the information I know you really want.
Leo Notenboom has been programming computers since 1976, and answering questions about them online since 2003. For more, see askleo.com.