Aug 23 2016

Your Email is the Treasure Hackers Want to Plunder

Personal Data Protection

Education is the Best Defense

Series 2 of 6

Email is the preferred method of hackers to steal data and extort money.

Layer 8 Security wants our community to be safe with their personal information by playing it smart. Please pass this information along to co-workers, family and neighbors. These recommendations will benefit not only yourself but also your workplace.


C-level executives are often targets of spear phishing attacks. One such scheme attempts to steal money through fraudulent use of a compromised email. The email looks legitimate, requests an employee with authority to write a check or wire money to the hacker’ s account of choice. This type of scheme is known as a Business Email Compromise or BEC. For more information please read our blog at:

Email is the preferred method of hackers to steal data and extort money, and the best way to protect yourself is by strong email behavior. Here are some strategies to use to avoid a personal data breach:

  • Use accounts for their intended purposes, personal vs. work
  • Go directly to the website rather than clicking on the links in email
  • Never click embedded links directly in emails (or web pages)
    • Copy and paste them into a notepad application to verify their legitimacy
  • If you receive an attachment, be cautious – opening suspicious attachments is one of the easiest ways to get malware
  • Ask the sender if they indeed sent you an attachment
  • Don’t click on links that take you to a social media platform
  • Hover the cursor over the sender’s name to verify the account

Additionally, it is good practice to not use a personal email account for business. The risks are higher for a potential breach. Business email accounts can be monitored and protected behind the company’s network and security protocols. Personal email cannot be maintained or protected by the business. If you do use a personal account for business, and it gets hacked, this can lead to a malicious gateway into your business network.

If email is the treasure hackers want, the key to keeping it locked is a strong password, and smart password management.  Learn more in our next blog episode.

If you are interested in learning more about phishing, cyber crimes, cybersecurity and how to create a resilient business, please contact us at:

If you missed any part of the Personal Data Protection blog series, please read past episodes here: Dialing for Personal Data Dollars 

Contributions by Kevin Hyde and Casey Lipson