You may get alerts from businesses that your email and password information may have been hacked. There are also sites like haveibeenpwned.com that will monitor your email address and alert you if your email has been compromised.
A hacked email may not seem like a big concern, but it can have a large impact on your privacy and security. Even if you don’t think you have a lot of sensitive information on your computer or associated with your email, you may be surprised to learn the truth.
The value of your hacked email information is quite high to a cyber thief, as they could have access to your personal data and resources that could be found in your inbox.
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any online service that hasn’t required an email to access it. The person in control of the email can reset the passwords for any accounts and services associated with the email. The user usually only has to request a password request and an email will be sent allowing the user to change the password. If someone else has access to your email, they can have access to all your other associated accounts and services.
Your stolen email information isn’t used to just spam others, they may be scanned for other people’s email addresses, to find software license keys, access to services like Dropbox or Google Drive, and other malicious opportunities. If you use the email as a backup for another email account, the hacker can now take control of both accounts. Your inbox could be held ransom, the criminals demanding payment for its release. There is a lot of information stored in the average person’s inbox.
The information below can give you an idea of why your hacked email is so valuable. These are some ways that the information can be used:
As you can see, there are a wide variety of ways that a hacked email can be used for nefarious means.
The hacked accounts can bring a nice return for the people selling the information. According to an article on krebsonsecurity.com, an email can bring anywhere from $3.oo to $8.oo each. Multiply that by the thousands or millions of email accounts that a hacker may obtain and you can quickly see how this can be a tempting crime.
Many online services offer you a couple of options to protect your credentials. Many bigger businesses offer multi-factor authentication that requires users to use a code texted to them or an app that provides a key to access an account. As always, you should use a strong password and mix them up between accounts. We know it is a hassle, but it is easier than trying to get your identity back once it is stolen and your reputation ruined.
Take the time to protect your email just like you would your wallet or your home.