AOL Has Highest Email Breach Rate, Gmail The Lowest: Study

There is nowhere to hide when it comes to data breaches.

A new study by Who is Hosting This found that most common email addresses are vulnerable — and so are their providers.

For instance, 99.83% of emails with have been breached, the company says. Next are MSN (95.12%), Hotmail (87.15%), Yahoo (86.64%) and Gmail (74.09%).

Why does AOL exceed Gmail by that much? It could be that “AOL pre-dated Gmail by almost 20 years,” the study notes.

In addition, 79.60% of .com addresses have appeared in a breach, and have drawn the highest average of breaches — at 33.

Next on this roster are .uk addresses (63%), followed by .ca (59%). Domains with .us were least likely to be hit — with 29%.  

The country domain most often hit is Germany (.de), with a 64% breach rate. Next are the .uk (63%) and .co, for Colombia (59%). 

At the lower end are .us (29%) and .cn, for China (8%). 

Watch out about using your first names in your address. Here are the ones most likely to be breached:

  • Angel — 95%
  • Ben — 84%
  • Bo — 83%
  • Ty — 78%
  • Chris — 74%
  • Ali — 69 
  • Art — 68% 
  • Ian — 68%
  • Eli — 675
  • John — 65%

The study also found that: 

  • Short emails are more likely than long to have been breached — 71.86% versus 62.12%.
  • Men’s emails are slightly more open to breaches than women’s — 68.59% to 67.33%.
  • Email addresses with job titles are less likely to suffer breaches than those without. 

What to do? The study urges that email users should “refrain from including numbers in the address, particularly common number strings like 123.”

The company ran a random sample of 212,000 public email addresses through the free resource Have I Been Pwned (HIBP). It worked with Quality Nonsense Ltd. It notes that data was processed in the U.S., and that the project was conducted on the grounds of legitimate interest under GDPR. 


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