In todays world, it is difficult, but not impossible, to find individuals who reframe from banking online, shopping online or storing sensitive data on their PCs. In a sense, they believe they are safe from online predators and that is where they would be wrong. Even people who do bank and shop online have trouble understanding why anyone would want to hack their computer or phone. Many people don’t fully understand how much they have invested in their email accounts alone, not to mention any of their social media accounts.
Here, I will try to explain the estimated street value of your email account as well as all people, personal data and other resources that are associated with and at risk of being compromised when your email account is hacked.
As with any app or online service that you sign up with, they almost always ask for your email address. In most cases, the person or company that is in control of that email address can reset the password of the email and any associated services or accounts tied to it, simply by requesting a password reset email.
“The hand that holds the data, rules the world”. © Aubrey Love 2019.
As you can see from the chart in figure 1.1, there is a great deal more associated with an email account than most people realize.
So, how much are these associated or linked accounts worth? Here’s a dollar breakdown of some prices per account as found on the “dark web”.
iTunes – $8
FedEx – $6
Groupon – $5
GoDaddy – $4
AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile – $4
Facebook and Twitter – $2.50 each
PayPal – Price varies depending on amount in the PayPal account.
Company email accounts such as Dell, Overstock, Walmart, BestBuy, Target, and others like them go for about $1 – $3. Of course, all these prices vary day-by-day much like the stock market does.
Just because your email account is not tied to an online merchant, which is a rare thing today, it is most likely connected to other accounts such as social media.
When you purchase software online where the program is downloaded via a link sent to your email, they most often send the CD key for that software to your email also. If you set up an online account or download an app that asks for your email address, hackers could have access to all those accounts as well. Linking a backup account to retrieve lost or forgotten email or account passwords to your current email account makes your backup account accessible as well.
If your email account is associated with online or cloud file storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft SkyDrive, etc. those files are also compromised since the key to unlocking them almost always lies in your email somewhere.
In the past, most companies offered little security to protect your accounts beyond that of a username and password. As times change, multi-level or multi-factor authentication has made its way into the cyberworld offering a higher level of security for the user. If any of your accounts offer this option, you would be wise to implement it as soon as possible as well as with all future accounts you set up online.
Breaking it down, most people do not realize the value in a simple email account, but as you can see, there is so much more to that little Yahoo email account than you may have been aware of.