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Password reset

In case you have trouble accessing your account and you have checked that you are entering the right password  (mind the CAPS LOCK and keyboard language), you can try resetting your account password. On most platforms and online services this can be done by clicking on the link named “Forgot your password?” or something similar, which is located on the login page.

Follow the instructions on the “Forgot your password” page and make sure that you have access to the email address/phone number you used to create your account. If you don’t have access to this email or phone, you will need to use the recovery (backup) account  if the provider supports that option. Otherwise, you might be left permanently locked out of the account.

Most likely, the service provider will send you a password reset link or code via email or other means of communication, which will enable you to create a new password for your account. From then on, you will use the newly created password to access your account.

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Security Questions

Another method to gain access to your account is to provide answers to the security questions, in case you enabled that option in your account security settings. However, some providers are leaving the option to implement security questions due to their inefficiency (they can easily be guessed, etc.). Also, people often don’t change the answers to these questions for years or simply forget them because they don’t have a frequent need for them.

However, if you still have a security question as your account backup solution , make sure the answer is kept in a safe place, that it is not some publicly available information or something easy to guess (“What’s your favourite food?” for example).

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Check browser for saved passwords

Modern browsers '> (Firefox, Chrome, Edge) have the option to save your passwords, so you don’t have to enter them every time you log in. However, this is not recommended and you should use a separate password management  software such as KeePass, KeePassXC or Bitwarden.

In cases where you cannot log in by typing your password, you should check if your browser saved a password at some point and use it to access your account. It is always advisable to copy and paste the password instead of typing it to avoid errors.

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Restore backup

Depending on which data you cannot access, you should try to restore your files from a backup . Make sure your files are backed up regularly and that you can access the backups in case they are kept on some cloud-based service (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive).

In case the operating system  of your device suffered serious damage affecting its performance, it is advisable to restore it to the last configuration when it was fully functional. Windows has the System Restore option, MacOS can use the Time Machine, while for Linux systems there are many available restore backup tools

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Check for available decryption tools

One of the biggest security problems and forms of cybercrime  today is ransomware .This form of malware encrypts files so that they cannot be accessed without a decryption key. The attackers then ask for payments in cryptocurrency to provide targets with the decryption key, usually within a short time frame to put more pressure on the targets. 

In case you are a target of ransomware, general advice is not to pay, as there is no guarantee you will indeed receive the correct decryption key. Payments also encourage further cybercrime attempts. You can try to find a decryption tool based on the type of ransomware. For example, No More Ransom is an initiative which provides citizens with free decryption tools for many forms of ransomware.

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Data recovery tools

In case your files are lost or you accidentally deleted them and you don’t have a backup , there are data recovery tools which can help you. Unless the data was deleted with an advanced tool such as Eraser, conventional data recovery tools might help you restore files.

Recuva is a data recovery software for Windows which has both free and paid versions. For an average user, the free option should be enough to recover deleted files and it also works with memory cards, external hard drives and USB sticks. Disk Drill, another recovery tool with a free plan, also works for MacOS in addition to Windows.

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Identity manipulation or misuse of personal data is a serious threat with potentially far-reaching consequences. Whether the target is a person whose personal data has been misused, or someone else, the damage can be incalculable.

Due to the complexity and different manifestations of this category of assault, it is difficult to determine the legal basis offering the most suitable protection. In the case of fraud committed using the computer belonging to another person, and resulting in material or financial gain for the perpetrator, a criminal complaint may be filed under art. 301 (Computer Fraud).  Another criminal offense, the unauthorized collection of personal data (art. 146), must be initiated via private lawsuit, and therefore the identity of the perpetrator must be known.  

If a case of identity manipulation leads to psychological harm, or damage to reputation or dignity, then compensation may be claimed using civil legal procedures. Before initiating this type of lawsuit, the identity of the perpetrator as well as evidence substantiating the claim of identity manipulation and resulting harm must be provided.


Identity manipulation is often tied to financial fraud and online theft. There are different ways you can protect yourself from these crimes: limit the amount of money that can be transferred to another account, or taken out via ATM at one time, use at least a two-factor authentication system for your finance-related logins, and destroy old bank and other identity cards with sensitive data. 

If you are a victim of identity manipulation, inform the police as soon as possible, notify the financial institutions or websites where you have accounts and temporarily block compromised bank accounts and/or cards. 

Timely risk assessment and digital hygiene are important means of  prevention and protection.

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