It’s happened to all of us. Those odd emails you get from a friend in your contact list, only to be followed up by an apology saying to ignore the previous email because their gmail account was hacked! Well, the worrying fact is that if your contacts email addresses have been hacked it makes it around 36 times more likely that your account will be broken into too. Google has carried out extensive research into email account hacking, profiling the criminals and figuring out better protection methods thanks to a study carried out over 3 years.
Who is Trying to Hack Your Email?
It seems that there are a certain few countries where these criminal hackers seem to base themselves. The majority of hackers live in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Malaysia and China, but people across the entire globe are targeted. There are a plethora of ways these sinister people try to get your details and access your account, and the most effective scams can have a success rate of up to 45%. Even more worrying is that the more experienced hackers can break into your account and lock you out of it in as fast as half an hour.
What Are They Looking For?
Financial details mostly. Bank account numbers, wire transfer details, Paypal credentials and anything else that they could use for monetary gain. They will also use your address book to try and con your contacts, posing as you in a bid to gain confidence from your friends and family. These fraudsters will also cover up the fact they’ve emailed your pals, and forward their replies to a different email address.
How To Protect Your Gmail Account
- First up, never email out your email address and password, and check url’s when you are redirected from any email. You can usually spot suspicious emails but it just takes one to get caught out.
- Go through all your old emails and delete everything that has any financial information on it. Just use the search tool and type in thing like ‘bank statement’ or ‘Paypal account’. This is what the hacker will do if they get into your account, so delete all sensitive emails regularly.
- Sign-up for two-step authentication to make it near impossible for hackers to get into your account. When you try to login from a computer you haven’t used before you get sent a text message to confirm your login, so hackers will be locked out even when they do have your details.
- Make sure you’re receiving account alerts on your phone, or backup email at least. This will let you know about any attempts by hackers to access your account and then you can change your email password quickly in case your details are shared.