Internet privacy has been a huge issue as of late. At Consider The Consumer, we have brought you the news related to this issue on many fronts. However, there is one way hacks may be getting your private information that you did not consider.
Remember that email account you had in college through the University’s server? You know, the one you haven’t used since you graduated? Well, it seems the dark web is using these old and abandoned email accounts to dig into your background and gather information that can be used to get credit cards, buy cars, homes and take out loans— all without your knowledge. They can also ruin your personal and professional reputation, leaving you in a very vulnerable position with a lot of clean up to do.
Here are four quick steps you can take, though, to protect yourself and your future:
1. Delete all old accounts
This doesn’t just refer to email accounts. If you have old social media accounts that you don’t use, for whatever reason, delete those as well. You have critical identifying information stored there.
2. Use password generators
It is tempting to select a password with some sentimental meaning. But, chances are the people who know you well could probably sit for a while and come up with a probable list of passwords and get close, if not direct access into your accounts. Password generators select random combinations of letters, numbers and special characters that have nothing to do with you as an individual or your personal identity.
3. Enable two-factor authentication
What is cool about this is that you will get codes sent directly to your mobile texts and to your email to verify that it is really you attempting to log on. If both cannot be provided, hackers won’t be granted access and you will be notified that someone tried to access your email or other account.
4. “Devalue” your account
Basically, make those accounts completely worthless to anyone who may try to hack. The best way to do this is to download all the old emails, screenshots, photos, etc. from each that is not a primary account and then erase all that data from the cloud.
Has anyone tried to hack your old email accounts? Tell us about your experience in the comments below. You can also contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!