3 Ways to check if hackers can access your email account
Hackers these days have succeeded in carving an infamous reputation for themselves worldwide. Their activities in the last two decades makes internet security very crucial as far as any online activity is concerned. Top Tech players such as Facebook and Linkedin have had a fair share of website breaches.
The effect of these breaches cannot be over emphasised. The main motivation is money or ransom payment where hackers harvest userdata such as usernames and passwords and auction it on the dark web unbeknown to the hacked victim. However, I believe most the dangerous group of hackers are those who do it for fun. They get satisfaction from successfully launching Denial of Service(DoS) attacks on websites hosting account and stealing email account details to harvest debit or credit card information among other things. So you see, the bottom line is money after all.
How do I secure my email account
The truth is that, you can never be too careful. The hackers becoming more sophisticated every other day. However some safety precautions can be taken to ensure you login credentials are not in the public domain. A rule of thumb is that, if you can remember your username and password, then it can definitely be hacked. Hackers often have the resources to conduct brute force guesses and may be successful at cracking your login details.
Cyber security expert often advice unsuspecting users to avoid using names of relatives and birthdays as login details. This is because such details can easily be sourced from social media accounts and offers hackers more chances of cracking your password by brute force.
It is often advised users constantly check if websites they have accounts with have been breached recently? We will discuss how to do that in the next section.
The use of verified auto generating passwords is also useful to acquire passwords that cannot be cracked by brute force.
According to experts, one of the the best ways to protect yourself online is to use unique and strong passwords for every account such that even if your data is still secured for other sites even one site is compromised.
How to check if hackers can access your email account
1. Check if your email account has ever be ‘pwned’
‘pwned’ pronounced as pawned in the internet security circle is used as a slang for breached or compromised. This can be done on Troy Hunt’s haveibeenpwned website who is a Microsoft Regional Director.
This website is a free resource which has record of breached data popular website where users can quickly check by inputting their email address as shown in the below and then instantly returns result such as ‘Oh no — pwned! which means your password might have been compromised in recent data breach if you havent changed it since the last time the breach occurred. Result which say Good news — no pwnage found! may suggest you are safe from recent data breaches.
See below some the top breaches in history. If you have accounts with them and havent changed your credentials for a very long time. you may have been ‘pwned’ and need to act fast.
2. Check the estimated time your password can be cracked
There are varying views from experts on how to secure you password from hackers but the truth is there is no surest single way to go by for in as much as top players such as LinkedIn, Adobe and Facebook have been ‘pwned’ before, it is rather easy to hack unsuspecting users who rely on the top directly or indirectly rely on the top players for securing their details.
An inexpensive and free way is to check how secure your password is by using Mark Wales’ estimated time to crack pasword website from his small Hadron Collider Project. This website gives the time a computer can take to crack your password in as low as nanoseconds!. As can be send a password such ‘enewsghana’ can be cracked in estimated time shown below!
You are further given options on how to streghthen your password. Users are to note that ‘these site is for educational use and also the developers mention that due to limitations of the technology involved, the results cannot always be accurate. Also tested password are not sent the internet.
3. Test the complexity of your password
The use of tools to assist with making your password exist and users need to take advantage of it to stay safe online. Many of such tools exist which are paid services. But my favourite free online tool for generating my password is the password generation tool which offers users to create passwords from 6(weak) to 2048(unbelievable)! characters while meeting 9 stringent conditions. The website further gives you 39 tips on how to prevent hackers from cracking your credentials.
1password is also a useful website which autogenerates complex websites but free offer is only for 30 days and has the addesd advantage of being integrated with most websites so all passwords can be controlled at one place.
Macbooks normally suggest auto generating passwords which is strongly recommended.
In conclusion, data breaches is a matter of great concern these days an online users must make conscious effort not to fall victim of these hackers and gain satisfaction from stealing peoples data. In short using the checks provided above, one can likely generate a robust login credentials which will be be a great pain for hackers to crack by the combination of know methods such as brute force or dictionary attack method and social engineering.
Before you fall victim make sure, you are using a variety of characters, password length is not short, is not just a word!
Users can also opt for password managers which are being patronised lately, These include dashlane website which allows you to securely store upto 50 passwords on the free plan.
Stay safe online.
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