The internet has made life a lot easier for us in transacting business, researching, and communicating in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, it has also made it easier for hackers to get into email accounts that contain sensitive information.
Email hacking is becoming a common problem of web users. As more people have become dependent on the internet for almost everything they need, a vast amount of sensitive information is now within reach of unscrupulous individuals known as hackers.
Cybertopcops.com defines a hacker as “someone who gains unauthorized access to a computer system.” Most hackers just like the thrill of breaking through a computer security system, but there are others who may not be as harmless. Some hack into email accounts and use all the sensitive information that they can access, for own their benefit.
How can you tell if your email was hacked?
- You can’t log into your email account.
- Your sent folder contains messages that you never sent.
- Your email contacts inform you that they have been receiving spam messages from your account.
What can you do if your email has been hacked?
- Change your password.
If you learn that your email has been hacked, change your password immediately. Choose one that won’t be guessed easily.
- Check all your other accounts: email, social networks, blogs, etc.
Many people use one password for all their accounts because it’s easier to remember. While this may be more convenient, think of the major losses you could suffer if a hacker gets into all your accounts.
- Delete all accounts that you have not been using for a long time.
Hackers love to get into email accounts that you don’t use anymore, since it takes a longer time for you to realize that you’ve been hacked – giving the hacker more time to do damage.
- Send an apology to all your email contacts.
While most internet users are aware that email hackers are the ones sending the spam, some may not understand and may be angry with you. So, it is best to send all your email contacts an explanation and an apology.
How can you prevent hackers from getting into your email account?
- Choose a password that cannot be easily guessed.
Many people use easy-to-guess passwords such as their own names with their birthdates at the end, which is very easy for hackers to crack. It’s best to combine upper case and lower case letters along with numbers and symbols such as the ampersand, dollar or percent sign.
- Change your password at regular intervals.
To make it more difficult for email hackers to crack your password, change your password every one to three months.
- Avoid giving your email address to every website that asks for it.
Give your email address only to people and organizations that you trust. Some websites exist only to sending out malware or spyware. Think twice before you provide your email address to websites that you browse.
The internet has certainly made life a lot more convenient but unfortunately, it’s also made it easier for hackers so you must be vigilant. Take all necessary precautions so that your email account is always secure.
Published on 2nd February 2011 by Jeanne DeWitt.