A large number of email users have been victims of online scams through emails and internet media. Many users have suffered financial loss, while others were just saved from getting an empty wallet. But despite this, there are many email users who are careless and negligent about the security of their email account, thereby jeopardizing the security of other email and internet users and encouraging hackers and attackers in having a free hand at mischief. This article explains how you also maybe contributing to email scams and email spam by being negligent about security. Are you going to be a victim or an accomplice?
Using the same password for all your email accounts can be make a successful attack exponentially damaging. It is like having a common key for all your assets, including your car, your garage, your front door and back door. If someone gets hold of the key, they can do quite a lot of damage. Having a weak password for your email account makes you as vulnerable. In 2014 the most commonly used password was ‘123456’. SplashData’s list of frequently used passwords shows that many people continue to put themselves at risk by using weak, easily guessable passwords.
“Passwords based on simple patterns on your keyboard remain popular despite how weak they are,” said Morgan Slain, CEO of SplashData. “Any password using numbers alone should be avoided, especially sequences. As more websites require stronger passwords or combinations of letters and numbers, longer keyboard patterns are becoming common passwords, and they are still not secure.”
Having your email account compromised is not the end of the attack. Your email address is most likely going to be used as a tool to attack other unsuspecting email account holders who have also not taken security seriously. Attacks on your email account cascade into attacks on email systems which can further snowball into attacks against an entire ISP. Credit Card Frauds, Net Banking Scams, High Security Facility Penetration and many other similar scams take place on a regular basis due to compromised email systems. You can use a time-tested spam filtering such as SpamAssassin to remove unwanted email from entering your inbox and junk folders. It is also important to know how to identify junk mail even if it’s from a trusted source. Carefully identifying a malicious email can help to fight spam and scams.
Opening emails from someone you don’t know or don’t trust is a bad practice. Sending any sensitive information or exceptionally personal information over email can also be damaging. Replying to, clicking on links within, or even unsubscribing from spam emails typically only informs the sender that they have found an email address to which they’ll send more spam emails or target in future. Report the message as spam instead.
Being alert and attentive about email activity and suspicious behavior of your email account can help make the internet safer for other email users as well and prevent spam mail, phishing scams and also harassment.