An email has become a part of our everyday lives and one of the primary ways that people communicate around the world.
Whether it’s your business email account or a personal one you use to speak to family and friends, keeping your email secure and avoiding hackers is something we all have to be vigilant about.
So, can you get hacked by opening an email?
It’s completely possible for your entire computer or connected network to become hacked with the simple opening of an email, and it’s more common than you think. Each year millions of people have their emails hacked which leads to serious consequences like identity theft and viruses, which is why securing our emails and computers should be a top priority.
Nobody wants to live without their email, especially when it comes to operating a small business, so stopping a breach is a matter of understanding the cybersecurity risks, knowing how to prevent them, and educating yourself on the potential risks.
With a little bit of vigilance, we can ensure our information is kept safe and that our employees understand the risks as well, leaving fewer opportunities for hackers to succeed.
- 1 Can You Get Hacked By Replying To An Email?
- 2 How To Secure Your Business Email Account To Prevent Attacks
- 3 What To Do If Your Employees Email Is Infected
- 4 Related Questions
Can You Get Hacked By Replying To An Email?
In addition to opening an email, the act of replying to an email can have serious consequences for your cybersecurity.
The biggest issue with these emails comes in the form of phishing emails, which are those that try to attract the reader to respond which then allows them to get more information from you.
Replying to an email, even if it comes as an automated out of office reply, shows phishers that the address is active.
In addition to this, it can also leak personal information, give them enough data to hack your account, and even share data about the company they work for.
Some phishing scams use these replies to get information about a business and can then copy the formatting they use to send emails that look as if they came from your company, which is referred to as business email compromise.
If you’re the owner of small business you’ll want to make sure that employees understand the very real threat of these types of emails.
Even if something looks legitimate that doesn’t mean it’s safe, and hackers and scammers these days have developed very sophisticated methods of attacking unsuspecting users, which could be your very own employees.
How To Secure Your Business Email Account To Prevent Attacks
As the primary source of attack for hackers, securing your business email should be your number one priority in cybersecurity.
Hackers primarily choose email as a way to get information about a business because it targets employees, many of which are uneducated about cybersecurity and therefore considered a weak link.
To prevent your business email accounts from being attacked, there are a few things you should be implementing in the workplace.
Regardless of the size of your business, you’ll want to make sure you’re vigilant about all of these steps to prevent a cyber-attack affecting your operation.
Education And Training
Training your employees to be skeptical of any email they receive is the best first step to preventing an attack.
Ongoing education about cybersecurity in the form of training and courses should also be implemented so they’re made aware of all aspects, and not just the threat that comes from email.
Having a two-factor authentication or 2FA is important in any online account your employees use, so when possible, make sure they implement it.
This means that after entering their login details they are also required to enter another code that’s generated for their mobile device or a fob. This extra layer of security can have a dramatic impact on protecting accounts.
A basic understanding of password security and ensuring that every employee has a strong password for each of their accounts is important.
There’s no need to have them update it every few months, but rather choose something that’s secure and can’t be guessed, so the longer and more random it is the better.
Choose an email provider for your business that ensures email encryption. Not all mainstream providers have this but in order to keep your data safe, it’s something you should implement.
Without encryption, a hacker can easily read your company’s emails if they manage to breach the account, which could lead to serious consequences.
A basic cybersecurity software suite is recommended for all businesses, but especially those with a small business.
These programs can be as basic or detailed as you like, but at their more minimum, they can prevent phishing emails, malware and virus attacks, and scan all incoming emails to keep potential hackers away.
What To Do If Your Employees Email Is Infected
Even with the most in-depth cybersecurity suite or providing training on preventing hackers from accessing your emails, sometimes attacks to happen. If you own a small business and you or your employee’s emails have become infected, there are a few steps you can take to try and rectify the problem.
- Change your password: First and foremost, you’ll need to immediately change the password on the email account so that the hacker won’t be able to access it anymore.
- Tell your contacts: Send out a brief email to everyone on your contact list and let them know that your account has been compromised and you are taking steps to fix the issue. Tell them not to trust any emails that have come from your account recently unless they can verify that you sent them.
- Enable multi-factor authentication: If you haven’t already, add multi-factor authentication to your account that can prevent hackers from accessing it with just your login details alone.
- Run a scan: Use the cybersecurity software installed on company computers and networks to run a complete scan and make sure that no infections are present.
- Change other account passwords: If that password is used for other online accounts, make sure it’s also changed immediately.
Email is the easiest way for hackers to get access to our personal information, and when you’re operating a small business it’s an especially weak link.
These are some common questions on email hacking that people have, to give you an understanding of why it occurs and what you can about it.
How Do You Know Your Email Has Been Hacked?
Obvious signs that your email has been hacked include emails being sent from your account that you didn’t authorize, a change in your password and inability to log in, and other online accounts having their passwords changed or attempted to be changed as well.
Who Do You Report Hackers To?
If your email has been hacked, you can report the issue to the Internet Crime Complaint Center operated by the US Government. This is done with a simple online form that alerts them to the threat and lets them forward the complaint to the law enforcement agency responsible for handling it.
Is Phishing Illegal?
Phishing is considered a form of identity theft and is illegal in the United States. If your email has been the victim of a phishing attack it should be reported to the authorities so they can investigate the matter and try to find the culprit.