New study discovers how hackers break into your accounts


Have you ever wondered how cyber criminals are able to break into all of these people’s online accounts? Maybe even into one of your accounts? Well, a new study done in partnership with Barracuda networks and UC Berkeley analyzed email account takeover attacks, otherwise known as ATO attacks to study how hackers have been so successful. The results may surprise you.

#1: 20% of compromised accounts had at least one previous password breach

The first finding was that one fifth or 20% of compromised accounts had at least one previous password breach. So, this means that attackers were able to get in using an old, hacked username and password that never got changed, even though the email account holder knew about it! Is this just laziness? I know, it sure sounds like it but we’re all busy, distracted and now more than ever, focused on other things so I get it. But, if you do know that one of your passwords is floating around out there, you do at least owe it to your work colleagues to change it, don’t you think?

#2: 93% of the time attacker did not use the account to send out phishing emails

The second finding was that in about 93% of account takeover incidents, the attacker did not use the e-mail account they broke into to send out phishing emails. After all, if they did it would of course increase their chance of being discovered. Instead the criminals sit and wait, watching for emails that might come in with confidential or sensitive information that they could use to steal money, an identity or whatever.

So, what can you do? That’s the subject of today’s Takeaway.

The Takeaway

Use a unique password for every website and if it’s available, enable 2-factor authentication. This will either text you a code or require you to enter numbers from a phone app before accessing your account. It’s especially important to turn this on for email accounts and those that might have money in them.

Cyber crime isn’t going away any time soon so it’s up to you to take basic steps to keep yourself safe. You can do it.

I’m Attila from Cylanda – stay safe out there.