The Internet is one massive conglomerate creature which connects the world in more ways than good. Everyone is a part of it by taking part in it. And so, there is a lot going on that the average internet user is not aware of. With all the incredible stuff the World Wide Web brings to our fingertips, we sometimes don’t realize that the seemingly safe spaces we use on the internet could be actually be an unsafe space. An especially overlooked space is that of old email accounts.
The cyber space is a global platform that is accessible to everyone and anyone around the world, and we tend to forget this when performing the simple act of writing a quick email to a friend or doing some online shopping. To complicate matters, long gone are the days of picking the first password that pops into your head. We now need to fabricate complicated passwords with a certain number of upper case letters as well as numbers and symbols. We are constantly being watched, pried upon by information hungry anonymous others.
As time has progressed and the web has developed most of us at some point have upgraded or simply changed our email accounts. However, how often have you ever thought about that old email account after signing up your new one? Have you ever thought that these lifeless places could put your personal information at risk of being hacked? How could anyone possibly get into an account that is not even active and why on earth would they want to read your old emails? Well, in amongst all that spam and other boring stuff there are gems to be found. Personal details such as old bank statements, addresses, all those boring things you think nobody sees are a treasure trove for fraudsters. Selling personal details to third party companies is big business and these people will do anything to manipulate you into giving up these things.
So, what can you do to be more savvy about your internet safety?
You must never give out personal information, especially bank details no matter how legitimate the site might seem. This may seem obvious, but we’ve all been pulled into the tempting trap of cheap flights to the Seychelles or helping a foreign prince transfer funds from his bank account to yours.
Don’t leave any important information floating around in inactive accounts that are not regularly checked. You never know who has been able to get in there and use your information for dubious causes.
When asked for a backup email do not provide an old unused account as back up. Using this old account will make it a lot easier for hackers to access your current account and request password changes.
There are various ways people can access your information. It is quite often the case that they will set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots in communal places like coffee shops, convincing you to connect to free Wi-Fi, when in fact you are allowing them access to all your information stored on your laptop or phone. So, make sure you have a trustworthy connection before opening accounts like Facebook, email, Twitter etc.
Another method is to gain access via implanting unwanted viruses and keyloggers which track all of your moves. The main lesson is to be completely sure of what you are downloading and be certain to keep your antiviruses updated. Ensure that you are always on the lookout for suspicious sites because they can present themselves in the subtlest ways.
If at the end of the day you are still unsure in any way about the safety of your unused email accounts, your best bet is to deactivate as soon as possible.