Security Breach: Is Gmail Really The Safest Email Service?

Gmail is by far the most popular email service. Did you know it’s also the most trusted? In a survey of 2000 consumers, by NordVPN, 36% identified Gmail as the email provider most focused on privacy. Outlook was second (22%) an Yahoo 14%.

Not that people have a clue as to what they’re talking about. In the same poll, 43% did not even know how to answer the question. 

Worse, they didn’t seem to know that all of those email services have had issues. “Recently, the news came out about over a million of Gmail and Yahoo accounts being sold online for bitcoins,” NordVPN said in a press announcement. “The account data included usernames, emails and passwords.” 

NordVPN continued, saying that some of the leaks have happened to “email providers that are not able to protect users’ data, such as Yahoo. Others, such as Gmail, haven’t experienced direct leaks (only when users’ credentials have been stolen from other platforms, such as MySpace), but Gmail is known to be as one of the most intrusive into users’ privacy with the requirements for personal information.”

Finally, the survey respondents were unaware of encrypted email services like Countermail (4.5%), ProtonMail (6.3%) and Tutanota (3.56%), that presumably are more secure.  

Meanwhile, Verizon has come out with a report showing that:

  • 66% of malware has been installed via malicious email attachments. In its study of 65 organizations, IT also found that:
  • 73% of the cyber scams were financially motivated
  • 62% involved hacking
  • 51% included malware
  • 81% of the hacking breaches utilized stolen or weak passwords
  • 61% Of the data breach victims are firms with less than 1,000 employees
  • 95% of the phishing breaches followed “some of software installation”
  • 75% were perpetrated by outsiders
  • 25% were committed by internal actors
  • 18% involved state-affiliated actors
  • 27% of the breaches were discovered by third parties

Well, security begins at home. Here’s what NordVPN is urging email users to do to protect themselves from cyber crime:

  1. Switch to an encrypted email provider
  2. Use strong passwords and a password manager
  3. Turn on multi-factor authentication
  4. Use a VPN

For its part, Verizon seems to agree, saying that you should encrypt sensitive data and use two-factor authentication. It also says that a company should keep data on a need-to-know basis, and remember physical security. 

That might work, if anyone is paying attention. 

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