I am sure you have all received an email which has random words in the title and in the body some random sentences and a link. You think it is suspicious but it comes from someone who emails you regularly. But the email does not look like it normally does. You guessed it your friend has had their email hacked and that account is now set up to spam their contacts.

Maybe it has happened to you. You either notice some failed delivery reports in your inbox or more likely one of your contacts tells you that they have received an odd email from you.

But how does this happen?

Well mostly it is down to using the same email address and password whenever you sign up for a website or for a newsletter. Using the same password as you use to access your email account!

Lets take the following example: You have an email address with Yahoo! for example mr_smith55@yahoo.co.uk. For this email address you use a password of SimplePassword23. At this point your email account is relatively safe.

However, you then perform as search for something that you are interested in, for men this could be cars and for women maybe shoes <– Sorry, sexist example, I have been rightly reprimanded! The website you find is very interesting so you decide to set up an account. When asked for your email address you enter mr_smith55@yahoo.co.uk and when it asks for your password your enter SimplePassword23.

Guess what, the owner of that website about cars or shoes now has access to your email account. They simply head over to Yahoo! and enter your email address and password!

Now it may not be the owner of the car or shoe site that wants to access your email account to send out spam emails to all of your contacts. It could be that the car site has very poor security and does not encrypt passwords or email addresses. Or that the shoe site has someone working for them who is not happy and is willing to sell on their employers database.

Your iTunes account is then not safe, if your login details are the same email address and password then you could say goodbye to the apps and songs that you have downloaded.

So my advice is simple, make sure your password, at least for your email account, is very different and more complicated than your usual password. One password for Yahoo and one for everything else that you sign up for.

Remember, once someone is in your email, Facebook, iTunes or anyother account they can change your password which then stops you getting into it.

Top Tip: Dating sites catch a lot of people out like this!

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