What could you really lose in a hack?

OneReset campaign 

Have you ever thought about what your email account says about you? It might give away more than you think. As our offline lives are becoming more intrinsically linked to our online lives, an email account can reveal some of our most private information 

We know from our research that people’s inboxes can be a "treasure trove" for hackers – with access to bank details, passport photos and home addresses. Hackers are able to exploit a weak email password leaving people vulnerable to the risk of identity theft. But if someone took a look at your emails they might also see the more sentimental keepsakes we often leave in our inboxes - birth announcements, emails from a university tutor with exam results or a job offer  

It’s worth remembering that your personal information is valuable to you, but it’s also valuable to hackers and cyber criminals.  

We want to remind people to really think about the emotional value of our inboxes and treat them in the same way we treat treasured possessions in the offline world.  We get the contents of our home valued, how much would we value the contents of our inbox? If we suffered a hack or were locked out of our email account we might feel a significant loss – both in financial and emotional terms. You wouldn’t go out without locking your front door, so why give criminals an open invitation to your personal possessions/information online?  

It’s time we mirrored our approach to security offline in our online worlds. The Cyber Aware #OneReset campaign is encouraging the nation to make #OneReset and take the simple step of having a strong and separate password for their email account to help protect their identity. Your email account is a gateway to a vast amount of information and hackers can also use your email account to access many of your other personal accounts including banking details. 

So next time you receive an email from a loved one, remember: your inbox may be more revealing more than you think. Here are 5 ways to stay safe online: 

  1. Use a strong and separate password for your email account.  
  2. Install the latest software and app updates.
  3. Activate two step authentication on your email.  
  4. Use password managers to store passwords for your less important accounts.  
  5. Secure your tablet or smartphone with a screen-lock. 

For more advice on simple ways to be more secure online, visit the Cyber Aware website.