Hackers can use your email against you; understand and know how to protect yourself | E-mail
Hackers are always looking for loopholes to implement scams and steal information, and email can be a gateway for these criminals to operate. Whether they use phishing scams to crack account passwords or exploit weak code vulnerabilities, fraudsters can gain access to a victim’s inbox and cause a variety of mishaps, such as sending emails to contacts asking for money or resetting their passwords. passwords for streaming services and e-commerce. Hackers can also obtain information about users’ personal and financial lives in order to extort or threaten them.
In the list below, TechTudo highlights five ways hackers can use your email address against you – and sometimes you don’t even have to hack it. Read on to learn how criminals operate and see tips on how to protect your email from potential attacks.
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Hackers can use your email against you; Know how to protect yourself — Photo: Brett Jordan/Unsplash
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1. To apply phishing scams
Criminals can attack victims’ emails with phishing scams. In this type of fraud, fraudsters impersonate legitimate companies or services in order to steal login credentials, personal and banking information. To increase the chances that a victim will click on a fake link and submit their information, criminals tailor the email to a specific target. Therefore, the more information the fraudster has about the victim, the greater the chances that the fraud will succeed.
In this sense, e-mails are a good source of information about victims, as they usually contain a person’s full name, for example. In addition, it is common for users to accept the same name that appears in email on social networks such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The practice makes it easier to track down fraudsters, who will be able to find victims’ profiles on these platforms and reveal even more information, such as hobbies and relationships.
2. To find out part of your login credentials
The email address is half of your login credentials. So, only for the hacker to discover the password to break into your inbox and access your conversations and information. To crack the code, bad actors can test popular combinations, such as “123456,” or even, if they know the victim, keywords that include date of birth, names of family members, among other similar information. This is only possible because many users do not follow good practices when setting passwords, such as creating long keywords, with upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
Criminals crack weak passwords to gain access to victim’s email — Photo: Pond5
Specialized criminals, in turn, resort to banks of leaked passwords or code-breaking software. They also send emails that trick the victim into sharing their account information or logging into a fake website. This is how they manage to steal credentials. To protect yourself, download an anti-phishing browser extension and remember to enable two-factor authentication.
3. Reach your contacts
If they get access to the victim’s e-mail, hackers will be able to identify the user’s frequent and closest contacts, such as family members and co-workers, with a simple search. In this way, criminals can send fake e-mails to these people, asking for money or access to online accounts, for example. Scammers can also send messages with infected links or attachments to install malware on the victim’s device and steal data.
4. Find personal and financial information
As explained in the first topic, criminals can also use an email address to find out more information about a victim and extort or threaten them. Because email is often linked to social media, scammers do a quick search and find a person’s profile, as well as photos, names of friends and family. It is still possible for them to know where the victim works or has worked and who their colleagues at the company are, if the email is also linked to LinkedIn.
Hackers break into email to capture victims’ personal and financial information — Photo: Getty Images/Thomas Imo
If an account is hacked, criminals can in turn find information about a person’s financial life: online purchases made, investment statements, credit card statements, among other things.
5. To access other online accounts
Another way scammers can use your email against you is by stealing access to online accounts that use the same email address as their login credentials. To reset your password, hackers just need to click on the “forgot password” button and generate a new password from an email received in your inbox. This gives criminals access to everything from streaming services like Spotify and Netflix to online stores – if your credit card is stored in some of them, the headache can be even greater.
Some measures can increase security and protect your email, such as creating strong, long and unique passwords with upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers. It’s also crucial to enable two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer to the login process and prevents unauthorized password resets. Also, it is recommended to use a password manager, keep the codes in a safe place and avoid repeating them in different services.
Simple tips help keep your email safe — Photo: Pond5
Being suspicious of suspicious links and attachments is also a way to protect yourself. If you do not know the authenticity of the material or the sender of the message, do not click. Finally, remember not to log into your email via Wi-Fi or public computers, as they are more susceptible to hacker interception.
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