Email hacking is a very common practice. I was amazed at the number of sites that offer to teach you how to hack someone’s email. This is a terrible practice and not only is it an invasion of privacy but it can be used for a variety of illegal practices.
In the news today: “Attorney Appeals Decision in Palin Email Hacking” as reported on NewsChannel5.com, a young man has been found guilty of hacking into Sarah Palin’s email account during the presidential campaign. His sentence can be 21 months in jail! This is certainly no laughing matter. For those folks who have had their email hacked… there is nothing funny about it. What can you do to prevent your email from being hacked?
1. Never give personal or account information in an email.
Most email accounts are hacked by ‘phishing’. Phishing is when you receive an email from what appears to be a legitimate site and it asks you to click on links or enter personal/private information. NEVER do this, because if you do, you have just given the hacker the personal info they need to access your accounts, like banking or credit card details.
These hackers can be very clever and they work hard to make the ‘phishing site’ appear like the legitimate website. If you receive an email from your bank and it asks you to click on a link within the email… don’t do it. If it asks for account info… don’t do it. If you know the website address of your bank, type it in your browser. Then login and you will see if there are any messages for you. Any legitimate bank will never ask you for personal account details in an email. Alternatively, you can call your bank, using the phone number on your bank statements or in the phone book. Never use the one on the email.
2. Use an Internet browser that has ‘phishing filters’. A phishing filter is a software program that works to identify fraudulent websites which attempt to represent the legitimate sites. Firefox and Windows 7 are just two of the browsers that incorporate phishing filters.
3. Check for filters in your email account. If for example you use Gmail, you can login and go to your settings and then check your filters. See if you recognize them as ones you set up. If not, get rid of it.
4. Never click on links within an email unless you know the page it is taking you to. I have found a very useful tool called ‘Cooliris’ and it is a plugin which allows you to preview a page without clicking on the link. Not only does it keep you from clicking on a link you don’t want to go to, it also saves time by not having to open another webpage or tab to view the destination page of the link.
Here is a link to download Cooliris http://www.coolpreviews.com/firefox/options-firefox.php.
Remember, hackers usually access our emails when we open the door for them. Be alert and take care when clicking on links within emails when you are unsure about them in any way.
This is how you can help prevent email hacking.