The most common reasons why your email got hacked include phishing scams, not logging out on shared computers, and poor password habits. Here’s a detailed look at how someone likely compromised your email account.
- You fell for a phishing scam that asked you to “confirm” your password. Though these phishing emails can be convincing, never respond to any unexpected message that asks you to verify your password, account numbers, addresses, or any other information of this kind. These emails use social engineering techniques to fool you into handing over your email password. They’re very effective, which is why phishing is a favorite tool of the world’s best hackers.
- You used an unsecured Wi-Fi network where hackers were able to eavesdrop on your data and intercept your passwords. Free public Wi-Fi networks, like the ones in cafes and airports, often have zero security. This means anyone can sit on the network and intercept all the traffic flowing through it — including your email details. Avoid this by connecting only to reputable networks that you trust and that are password-protected. Or stay safe even on open networks with a powerful VPN service like AVG Secure VPN, which secures and encrypts your connection.
- Hackers obtained your email credentials in a data breach. If you recycle passwords between accounts, it just takes one compromised account for a hacker to access all of them. Hackers can buy passwords off the dark web, where other people sell them after successful data breaches.
- You used a weak, easy-to-guess password or have been using the same password across multiple sites. Make sure your passwords are both long and unique for all the various sites and services that you use, then keep track of all your new and complex passwords with a good password manager.
- You didn’t have updated security software on your PC. Without adequate protection, your PC can become infected with malware designed to steal your passwords – which can sneak through in the form of dodgy downloads and suspicious email attachments. We strongly recommend to install an application of Malware Byte to keep your computer updated.
- Google captcha is not installed on contact-us/inquiry form of your website. Sometimes, we feel that our email password has been compromised when you suddenly start receiving a lot of bounce messages but it may also happen due to absence of Google captcha. You received those emails because the same email account is also being used by the developer in the code of contact-us/inquiry form of your website.