The average person has two email addresses that they regularly use, with one often dedicated to personal use and the other for professional use. When connecting with others online or creating accounts, these email addresses can be considered our "home base." They make it easy to receive direct communication from friends, family, business contacts, and companies.
Since we share our email addresses every time we create an account or conduct communication on the web, they often end up spread across the internet. This happens fairly easily because, aside from avoiding spam, we tend to think of an email address as something fairly public. However, once you understand what hackers can do with it, you'll begin to keep your email address a lot more secure.
For starters, you'll want to consider a tool like TeamPassword to protect your accounts. Start a free trial today.
Table of contents:
- What Can a Hacker Do with Your Email Address?
- Protecting Your Email Address
- Use TeamPassword for Increased Security
What Can a Hacker Do with Your Email Address?
An email address can seem quite ordinary, even public, which is why we often overlook important security steps, leaving us vulnerable to hacking attempts. In reality, your email address holds all sorts of value that hackers can exploit.
To start with, most websites use your email address as the primary identifier when you login. Plus, on sites where a username is created, we often end up using the same username we used in our email address (i.e., "johndoe78" and "firstname.lastname@example.org"), making hacking email addresses that much easier for criminals.
While a hacker can't login to any of your accounts unless they have your password, email address hacking gives them an easy way to target you with phishing attempts and malicious attachments that can help them figure out your password.
Additionally, anytime you go to reset your password for a given website, that link usually goes to the same place: your email inbox. So, if a hacker manages to figure out your email address password, suddenly they can gain easy access to all of your accounts. Their job is even easier if you've made the mistake of using the same password on multiple platforms, like 65% of people do.
Finally, while most people would hate to admit it, we end up storing all sorts of personal information in our emails. Bank statements, rental agreements, personal photos -- all sorts of private, identifying information is stored in our inboxes, and that just gives hackers more leverage for taking advantage of you and committing fraud in your name.
Protecting Your Email Address
If you think that your email address has been compromised, you should consider getting a new account. Going forward, you should also be sure to practice the following.
- Don't reuse passwords. Your passwords should be unique to each site you create an account on and your email address password, in particular, should never be used for another website.
- Get creative. Adding special characters, a mix of letters and numbers to your password serves a real purpose. With every character you add, it exponentially increases the number of possibilities, making it substantially harder for a hacker's computer to figure out your password.
- Use multi-factor authentication. When available, opt to use multi-factor authentication (MFA), which will require you to enter your password and confirm it's you by some other means, like by sending a 4-digit code to your phone number before you can login.
- Monitor for data breaches. Services are available that monitor the dark web for data leaks and sensitive information. You'll be alerted if any of your information has been compromised.
Getting into the habit of better cybersecurity practices will take time, but your efforts will prove well worth it. Plus, with modern tools, creating and remembering secure passwords isn't so hard. A tool like TeamPassword should be considered a necessity.
Use TeamPassword for Increased Security
TeamPassword makes generating an ultra-secure, unique password as easy as clicking a button. Plus, you won't have to worry about forgetting your secure passwords because TeamPassword will store them for you in an encrypted format. Interested in learning more? See for yourself how the service works by signing up for a free trial.