Email accounts provide threat operators with a vast treasure trove of personally identifiable information (PII) that they can steal or exploit. They also provide a platform for them to launch a wide range of malicious activities, from spamming and spoofing to spear phishing and social engineering attacks. In this blog, we’ll count down different ways hackers can gain control of your account. Read on to get protected.

Phishing attacks

Attackers can trick users into giving them access via phishing tactics. Calls, texts and emails are sent out that seem legitimate but are designed to get recipients to part with their email credentials. A simple technique is for attackers to include a link asking a user to confirm their account details. Once they are provided, the hacker harvests the information.

Phishing messages may also include a download link with malware like a keystroke logger. The malware records passwords and usernames and sends them to the hacker.

Forgetting to sign out of shared or public devices

Users who forget to log out properly form a device used by others can easily have their emails invaded. With open access, an opportunistic attacker can easily take control of an open account and lock its user out by simply adjusting the credentials.

Hacked Wi-Fi

Poorly protected routers can be easily hacked or become targets for man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks where a network connection is intercepted. In such events, hackers can see all activity, including when you input passwords and usernames.

Data breaches

If an online service or vendor you use stores your email address and suffers a data breach, your credentials may be leaked online. It is common for many online companies to use your email address as a username which gives hackers one half of your email credentials. If you use the same passwords for multiple accounts, it may also give them the ability to invade all of them.

Easy-to-guess passwords

Forgetful users sometimes opt for simple passwords that are easy to remember like “password” and “1234”. As a result, if hackers already know your email address, they can quickly guess what your passwords is and enter your account. To keep them out, ensure you always use a strong password with eight to 12 characters and activate multifactor authentication.

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