E-mail Hacks and Cyber Attacks

Email accounts serve as an attractive hack for online identity access with log-ins for social media and financial services often linked. This type of cyber hack can be both financially and emotionally draining. A recent investigation conducted by McAfee estimates cyber crime is costing the World £266 Billion a year. With many reports of cyber crime remaining undocumented just how do we keep our email data safe in cyber space?

Hackers use two approaches to take over our email accounts:

AUTOMATED: The criminal uses organised algorithms to target a mass audience of email accounts. This is a somewhat random method but nevertheless, is highly effective for gaining access to a considerable amount of data and valuable information.

MANUAL: Hackers manually attempt to log into a particular individual’s email. Although this method is time consuming, it can be more beneficial to the criminals if they can access a decent and worthwhile account.

 Once inside the email account the hijacker will take valuable email content and can access the account holder’s contacts to send phishing emails in a bid to gain financially from the crime:  According to a recent report by Google ‘people in a contact list of a hijacked account are 36 times more likely to be hijacked themselves’. Furthermore, if a password is shared between an email account and social media, then the individual’s entire Internet security system will be at risk.

Whilst these cyber criminals are more advanced than the legislation in place for these crimes, they still need to breach the security of the account, which of course is established through passwords. It is essential that they are hard to crack.

PASSWORD STRENGTH: A password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters and numbers. Although it may seem a good idea to use a memorable name, a password such as D14lSaP is virtually impossible to guess in terms of manual hacking and will take an automatic system far longer to crack.

UPDATE FREQUENTLY: Change passwords as frequently as possible as sometimes it is hard to determine whether an account has been breached.

TWO-STEP VERIFICATION PROCESS: This is a combination of the initial password and a code sent directly to your mobile device or an app during the verification process. This effectively blocks hijackers from ever gaining access to your information and is available for most email providers such as Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail.

 As cyber criminals continue to evolve their methods and adapt quickly to new security tactics, it is essential to put these 3 basic, quick and effective security precautions in place. Password security is the most important tool in preventing the breach of our accounts. We are the front line for the prevention of these crimes.

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