Are hackers targeting your personal email? Here's how to defend yourself!
Hackers steal your personal information for malicious purposes such as theft. One of their methods involves utilizing social media and dark web forums to gather information about you. Shockingly, they can also acquire data from seemingly harmless sites such as surveys and online games. Unfortunately, attackers rely on people oversharing personal and company information to gain access to accounts.
Once these hackers gain access to your information, they can use it for various types of attacks, including social engineering. Essentially, they may use the stolen information directly, such as by hacking into your accounts, or indirectly by impersonating someone else and tricking you into revealing your confidential data.
If these hackers get your contact details like your phone number or address, be on high alert for phone-based scams. They may send you a message claiming that you owe money for unpaid utilities and encourage you to click on a malicious link to settle your debts. Do not fall for this scam!
What Does Your Personal Email Contain?
Did you know that your email address is a goldmine of information for hackers? Scammers can get their hands on all sorts of sensitive information just by looking at your inbox.
Many of us have a single email account that we use for pretty much everything, from communicating with our doctors to receiving notifications from our banks. We might even use it to buy or sell a house!
Unfortunately, hackers can use your email address to launch phishing attacks and steal valuable information, such as your login details and financial data. This can lead to some serious consequences, like identity theft.
Uncovering the Motivations Behind Email Hacking
Once hackers get ahold of your personal email, not only can they access your personal and financial information, but they can also get their hands on the details of your friends, family, and other contacts. So, what do these hackers want with your information?
They might steal your personal information and use it for identity theft. This could include your full name, home address, and credit card number, all of which are commonly required when signing up for online services. Hackers can use this information to make unauthorized purchases or take out loans in your name. Scary, right?
Cybercrime is often financially motivated. Attackers are after money and will use coercive methods such as phishing or ransomware to get it. So, if they can get access to your financial information, they’ll use it to their advantage.
Some hackers are after sensitive information such as financial data or company secrets. They’ll gain unauthorized access to networks and devices to obtain this information, which can be a huge problem for businesses that rely on technology. If you’re an employee of a large company, it might be unwise to publicize your personal email, especially if it is connected to your work email.
What to Do if You’ve Been Hacked
One of the first signs that something is off might be unexpected charges on your credit card bill. That’s why it’s so important to always read through those bills carefully and make sure you understand every single charge, no matter how small. Some card thieves will even make a few small purchases to test the waters before making a big one, so keep an eye out for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
What should you do if you suspect that your email has been hacked? Here are some steps you can take:
Change your password. If you’ve been hacked, changing your passwords should be one of the first things you do. It’s important to not only change the password for the affected account, but also for all of your sensitive accounts, including banking, email, and investment accounts. Use an even stronger password this time. If changing the password isn’t possible, contact the company and request to freeze the account for added security.
Review your email settings. If your security question and answer were something common or easy to guess, that could be all it took for the hacker to gain access to your account. To prevent this from happening in the future, many email providers offer two-factor authentication (2FA) as an additional security measure. This way, even if a hacker manages to get your password, they still won’t be able to log in without that additional factor.
Contact your contacts. Hackers can use someone’s email account to send phishing emails to their contacts. And unfortunately, it’s even more effective when the email appears to come from someone the recipient knows. That’s why it’s important to be cautious when opening emails, even if they appear to come from a trusted source. One way to stop the spread of malware is by warning your friends and family to be careful with any emails that seem suspicious or out of the ordinary. Let them know to double-check before clicking on any links or downloading any attachments.
Check other accounts for suspicious activity. If you see any unrecognized IP addresses, it could be a sign of an email hacker trying to access your account. Other signs that your account has been compromised include being locked out, changes to your account settings, seeing emails in your Sent folder that you didn’t send, receiving password change requests or confirmations that you didn’t initiate, or even hearing from your contacts that they received suspicious emails from you.
Protecting Your Data from Criminals
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your personal data. By understanding how hackers gather information, you can take the necessary steps to keep your information secure. So, here are some crucial tips to protect your data:
- Don’t share phone numbers and physical addresses on social media.
- Evaluate consequences before sharing personal information.
- Be cautious when approached by a company representative who knows your information.
- Call the company using their website contacts if in doubt.
- Use different passwords for each account, and use long, complex passwords.
- Learn to recognize phishing scams and never click suspicious links.
- Use alternative payment methods such as PayPal instead of bank transfers.
- Provide an alternative ID if an organization asks for your SSN.
- Avoid using personal information as a password or in credentials.
- Use an encrypted password manager to store valuable information.
Anyone’s email is at risk. However, by following simple guidelines such as avoiding oversharing personal information, using strong and unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and keeping an eye on suspicious activity, we can reduce the risk of falling victim to these attacks. In addition, it is crucial to act fast and contact the relevant authorities if we suspect that our email has been hacked. Let’s stay vigilant and protect our personal data from cybercriminals.
Sangu Mail protects customer email boxes from advanced cybersecurity threats— detecting and blocking SPAM, phishing, malware, and ransomware attacks before they arrive at your inbox. Learn more here.