I use Hotmail. My password was strong (upper/lower case letters, digits, and special characters. No dictionary words.
It was only 8 characters, maybe that was the problem?
I only use this password for my e-mail. Nothing else.
I didn't receive or respond to any phishing emails.
I checked news sites and there is no report of Hotmail itself being hacked.
Malwarebytes and other scanners/tools I have claim my system is clean. No key loggers.
Does anyone have any thoughts on how my account could have been compromised?
They immediately changed the password, recovery questions, and recovery email. Then they sent spam asking my contacts for money (to be sent via Western Union). The IP address the mail appears to originate from seems to be a Nigerian IP block.
First, I don't understand how my password could have been gotten. When I tried guessing passwords, after five or six attempts it made me enter a CAPTCHA before each attempt.
Can people brute force Hotmail/MSN passwords?
Second, it doesn't appear that there is anything I can actually do. When I search online, all I find are tips to prevent being the victim of fraud (i.e. don't send money via Western Union) but I can't find any place to report the criminal(s).
Does such a place exist?
Finally, what steps can I take to prevent this in the future?