Why cybercriminals love to hack emails

Email houses business critical information and must be protected at all costs.

Most people have a close relationship with their email. Checking emails is often the first thing people do when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they do before going to sleep. And it's not just personal email – 81 percent of people check work email on weekends, according to a survey, while 55 percent examine their business inbox after 11 p.m. Fifty-nine percent of business users have checked in to work email on vacation; 9 percent while at a wedding; 6 percent while attending a funeral.

Email increasingly represents the main point of convergence for business-related matters and often also for personal ones, with many components of critical operations traveling through or stored there. The use of devices for both work and personal pursuits has created additional security concerns for IT personnel and consumers alike. On work-related and personal computing networks, without an effective form of application control, hackers have many ways in and opportunities for a serious security risk abound.

Security expert Brian Krebs recently examined many of the network trails that all lead to email – through a hacked email, cybercriminals can gain access to business functions, like digital documents and client account data; financial information, like bank account statements and spending habits; and knowledge about one's personal life, including social media data, among others. Almost every account one can sign up for requires an email and a password, and can be reset simply by having the email address handy. Once a hacker has gained entrance to a user's email, they could effectively re-route the user's life. 

Businesses and users must be wary of the pitfalls of the maximum connectivity that email provides. Without effective security controls, it may be difficult to corral networked computers and avoid leaks. Companies should turn to comprehensive software layered security solutions in order to maintain an effective front against email hacking.

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.