How Hackers Can Use Email to Unlock Other Accounts

Nov. 22, 2017

10:00-11:00AM PST

Experts estimate that more than 4 billion data records were stolen in 2016. This means that all over the world, people are experiencing the jarring realization that their most personal information has been compromised.

Websites might not keep your information safe.
In 2017, Clutch, a ratings and reviews firm based in Washington DC, conducted a survey of over 300 website managers. They found that once websites collect user information, nearly half (48%) store information directly on their websites.

As a visitor to these websites, it can be difficult or impossible to know what protective measures are being taken on the backend. Outdated plugins, unsecured input fields, and other flaws can leave your information unprotected.

If you can’t count on the websites you use to keep your information secure, you’ll need an email encryption provider to ensure that hackers won’t break through.

Online accounts can provide clues to your passwords.
It’s rare to sign up for a website account that doesn’t require several pieces of personal information. If hackers are able break into a website and obtain your email address, chances are they also have access to other commonly collected information such as your location, birthday, and name.

Taken together, these pieces of information can allow hackers to track down even more information about you, such as where you went to school, whether you’re married, where you work, or even how many pets you have.

Most people base their passwords around personal information such as a loved one’s birthday or pet’s name, so the information hackers find makes it easy for them to begin guessing the passwords to your account.

“With an email address, [a hacker] won’t have to work a lot in order to retrieve privacy information,” patented email security provider, Trustifi CEO Idan Udi Edry pointed out in an interview. “The combination of an email address and a name is enough to start the reconnaissance on someone as a user.”

The safest approach is to use long, randomized passwords alongside encryption. A password manager can help ensure that you always have access to the accounts you need, without having to worry about memorizing complex passwords.

Synced accounts use your email to unlock other information.
Many websites now offer the option of syncing your email account rather than entering new account information. From a security perspective, there are pros and cons to this approach.

Part of the reason that users put their trust in large companies such as Google is that these companies have the resources to invest in advanced security measures.

However, connecting too many accounts to your email also presents a high degree of risk. If a hacker manages to steal or guess your email login, they could be seconds away from accessing most of your online presence, from a retail account with your credit card information to the bank account that holds your child’s college fund.

Still, syncing new accounts to your existing email account can feel like a convenient solution remembering numerous complex passwords. If you are unwilling to give up this habit, it’s even more important to make sure that your email has the most rigorous protection possible.

Don’t go it alone. Your data is too important. Trustifi can help you understand how hackers view email as a gateway into your other private accounts so that you can anticipate and block attacks before they happen.

If this information is unnerving, downloading a free trial of Trustifi’s email security software may give you peace of mind.

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