Hackers hijacking your 'canceled' e-mail accounts - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Hackers hijacking your 'canceled' e-mail accounts

By Derrick Rose bio | email | Twitter

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Anyone who knows Laura Neff knows she's never more than a couple clicks away. "I email a lot, back and forth all day," she laughed.  

The same thing that brings her smiles has also brought frustration the last 2 months. "I thought, that's not going to happen to me, that happens to other people," Neff shrugged.

But it did happen.

Someone hacked into her email account. Eight years of contacts and messages were in someone else's hands. "All of a sudden, people who were on my distribution list who I hadn't heard from in 5 years were emailing me saying, 'Did you email me this link to a pharmacy site?'"

That same week, Neff discovered someone got ahold of her bank card number. Not knowing if the two events were related, she tried closing that email account.

Instead of shutting it down completely, though, the company put the account on a 90 day wait in case Neff changed her mind about canceling the account. "Thinking, at least the account is inactive, so hopefully that will stop this problem and within the space of two to 3 weeks, it was hacked 6 or 7 more times."

Computer security experts call it e-mail hijacking. It's where organizations harvest clean email accounts to send out spam or hackers use to grab personal information.

The easiest way to beat it, experts recommend, and Neff later found, is changing your password and making it stronger. "That's what I did and when I changed it to something very difficult to discern, it stopped."

It's brought back the smiles and with them, peace of mind.

TIPS TO AVOID E-MAIL HIJACKING

Create Strong Passwords

Creating a strong password includes both letters and numbers, upper and lower case, making it difficult for hackers to crack. The easier a password is for you to remember, the easier it is for hackers to solve.

Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.

Delete vs. Dormant 

Check with your email account service and find out if they immediately delete the account or leave it dormant for a period of time first. In either case, create a strong password.

Location 

Be careful about where you log onto your account. Only use computers you trust.

Read User Agreement

Before signing up for a new account, look at the fine print to find out how the email service handles canceling accounts.

Copyright WBTV 2010. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 9:21 AM EDT2017-04-28 13:21:13 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    More >>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    More >>
  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    More >>
  • 'I got 2 clips!' Impatient mom pulls out gun, threatens barber cutting son's hair

    'I got 2 clips!' Impatient mom pulls out gun, threatens barber cutting son's hair

    Friday, April 28 2017 2:03 PM EDT2017-04-28 18:03:40 GMT
    (Source: Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Facebook)(Source: Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County Facebook)

    Police are looking for a woman who pointed a gun at a barber; all because her son's haircut was taking too long. According to the Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County, the woman's son was getting his haircut on April 14 at Allstate Barber College on Lorain Avenue.

    More >>

    Police are looking for a woman who pointed a gun at a barber; all because her son's haircut was taking too long. According to the Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County, the woman's son was getting his haircut on April 14 at Allstate Barber College on Lorain Avenue.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly