How Secure Is My Password? | Are passwords enough on their own?

The importance of having secure passwords and, if 2-factor authentication is an option, turning it on cannot be overstated.

This week, I had the opportunity to see firsthand just how frustrating it is to deal with an account hijack.

On Friday, the customer contacted me, as one of the retired partners had unfortunately been victim to a hijacked personal email account.

It’s worth highlighting that all emails sent during the period under the hijacker’s control would have come from the legitimate account holder, and anyone who had responded would have responded to the hijacker’s account, ideal if you are planning a Phishing attack.

Less obvious was that the hijacker had created a rule labelled (..), which forwarded all emails sent to the legitimate account to the hijacker.

Fortunately, they had neglected to tick the box saying to leave a copy in the inbox, so new emails didn’t appear. So, it was evident that something was going on, and we removed the rule.

However, the hijacker received a copy of all incoming emails for the period the account was under their control.

It would have been infinitely worse had they hijacked a Microsoft, Dropbox or Google user, as they also have data access.

Password strength,

The hijacking was discovered when spam was sent from the compromised account, some of which was directed toward the retired partner’s old company.

Taking back control

First, I had to regain control of the hijacked accounts. Fortunately, the recovery mobile hadn’t been changed, so I could easily regain access.

If the hackers had updated the recovery options, it would have been challenging to regain control.

The hijackers changed the Reply-to address to a Hotmail address they controlled. Fortunately, this was relatively easy to spot and rectify.

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