Just about everyone these days has an email account. Many people have more than one with separate personal and business email accounts. And a majority of people access their email accounts on their mobile devices. However, most people more than likely do not think about how their email accounts can be of value to cyber criminals.

Crime Pays

 Today cybercrime is escalating exponentially. Never has it been more important to be aware of the value cyber criminals place on email accounts. As of March of this year, 2017, there were 1.2 million email accounts for sale on the dark web marketplace. Among those are 245,000 Yahoo accounts and more than 500,000 Gmail accounts. And, all of them are sold complete with usernames, email addresses and passwords.

You may wonder what can be gained by being able to access your email account. Well, think about the fact that whenever you set up your bank account or an account with a retailer, you are typically asked to provide your email address.

Whoever is in control of the email address can reset the password of any associated services or accounts –merely by requesting a password reset email. Hackers can access your contacts, your retail accounts and your bank accounts through your email account. So, as you can see, this can mean big business for the bad guys.

 

How Much Will Criminals Pay

According to Krebsonsecurity.com there are price lists for various types of accounts that can be accessed through email accounts. As the article states, “One prominent credential seller in the underground peddles iTunes accounts for $8, and Fedex.com, Continental.com and United.com accounts for USD $6.  Groupon.com accounts fetch $5, while $4 buys hacked credentials at registrar and hosting providerGodaddy.com, as well as wireless providers att.com, Sprint.com, Verizonwireless.com, and Tmobile.com. Active accounts at Facebook and Twitter retail for just $2.50 apiece.” (https://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/06/the-value-of-a-hacked-email-account/)

 

You Can’t Afford To Be Cavalier Even If You Don’t Do Business Online

You might feel pretty confident that you won’t get hacked because you’re one of the holdouts who refuse to conduct business online. You consider yourself to be old fashioned. You go to the bank to make your deposits and make purchases at real brick and mortar stores. You do however keep in touch with friends and family via email and text. Krebsonsecurity.com has this to say to you, “Even if your email isn’t tied to online merchants, it is probably connected to other accounts you care about. Hacked email accounts are not only used to blast junk messages: They are harvested for the email addresses of your contacts. Those contacts can then be inundated with malware spam and phishing attacks. Those same contacts may even receive a message claiming you are stranded, penniless in a foreign country.”

(https://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/06/the-value-of-a-hacked-email-account/)

When Your Email Account Gets Held For Ransom

The recent wave of WannaCry attacks on businesses and individuals throughout the world is making it impossible to ignore the breadth and depth of the threat. You may not be an international corporation or even a small business, but what if your email inbox was being held for ransom? Impossible, you think? Would you pay to get it back? Cyber criminals are counting on getting paid.

 

If you are an individual, please keep up with all of your software updates which are continuously being improved to keep your files safe. If you are a business and are ready to get more serious about cyber security, give us a call.

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