6 accounts that must never be abandoned

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Sometimes we create an account to access certain content, sometimes our friends ask for it. Over time, we forget about these accounts, and they are stuck in the depths of the Internet, dozing, waiting for someone to hack them.

Can you name every website where you have an account? Sometimes we put them on to access certain content, sometimes our friends ask us to. Over time, we forget about these accounts. Many users simply stop logging in and don’t want to close such accounts. And they are stuck in the depths of the Internet, dozing, waiting for someone to hack them. If that happens, you won’t know it soon. If at all.

What threat do abandoned accounts pose

However, does what happens to the unwanted profile really matter? If someone breaks on them, what might be the consequences? Theoretically, you no longer need it. However, it turns out that in some cases such an abandoned account can be used to gain access to other resources and important information. See what you need to know about it.

  1. Accounts in social networks

Few people log into their accounts on all social networks regularly. It happens that we set up a Facebook profile, use it to log into Instagram and other websites (after all, it’s very convenient, right?), And then we realize that we don’t really need Facebook. Of course, the aforementioned social network still sends email notifications if they have not been turned off, but they go to a separate folder that we usually don’t check.

In this situation, when a user receives an email warning that someone has logged into their account from an unknown device, they will not see it. Thanks to emu, cybercriminals gain access to accounts connected to Facebook. In addition, they may try to borrow money from people who are friends or from those who follow the victim  's Facebook activity .

What steps should be taken

  • Set up two-factor authentication on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Enable you to receive account sign-in notifications from unknown devices – and pay attention to them.
  1. Backup e-mail address

Many people set up a separate email account to receive messages and notifications so they don’t clutter their main mailbox. None of the messages received on this e-mail account are from a real person, so the accounts are not checked too often. Therefore, for a long time, you might not notice that such secondary email accounts have been hacked – at least not until we lose access to some important account.

What steps should be taken

  • Enable two-factor authentication for such accounts.
  • Configure the forwarding of messages from such a mailbox to a separate folder in your main e-mail.
  1. Password manager

Some of us save their login details in the password manager, and after some time decide to replace it with another application. Then the profile in the old manager is abandoned, as well as the passwords stored in it (and we usually do not change half of them). If someone gains access to this profile, they can get into your account. And even if you detect the theft on your account, you won’t know how the cybercriminal got the password for it.

What steps should be taken

  • Delete the account in the password manager if you no longer use it.
  1. Accounts in online stores

Many stores encourage us to link a bank card or an online wallet to your account, which is to facilitate our shopping. Some do it automatically. If you use it often, the temptation is immense. Often, we also save the home or business address used for delivery in our profile, as well as other valuable data.

However, there may come a time when you stop using a particular service. If your account remains active and is hacked, cyber criminals will gain access to your data, which you will most likely only find out if they want to buy something on your behalf. Or they will buy it, because not all sites ask for an SMS code to confirm the transaction.

What steps should be taken

  • Do not bind your bank card with online stores.
  • If the service has saved your card details automatically, do not forget to delete them.
  • Consider using a separate card for online purchases and it will contain a small amount.
  1. Google account for work

When we need access to services such as Google Analytics in our work, we often decide to set up a separate account on Google. It makes sense to have separate private and business profiles; however, the problem is that many people forget to delete their Google business account when they change jobs.

As a rule, company-related accounts are immediately blocked by the IT department when an employee leaves the company ranks. However, they may miss those that the former employee has already set up themselves, e.g. a Google account. As a result, it may happen that such accounts float in the ocean of the internet and offer sharks passing by access to company documents and other confidential information. Hacking such an account would be extremely difficult to detect as no one remembers their existence.

What steps should be taken

  • An employee leaving the company does not have to take any steps.
  • Access to all Google services and accounts used by the employee must be revoked by the company.
  1. Phone number

To prevent the main phone number from ending up in the databases that are used to send spam, some users decide to use an additional number that they use in various websites, loyalty cards, bonus programs, public Wi-Fi networks, etc. Sometimes this number is also used for two-factor authorization. While the number is technically not an account and cannot be dropped in the fullest sense of the word, it can also cause problems. Firstly, because there are many accounts associated with it, and secondly, you probably won’t be using it for calling or typing.

On the other hand, an unused SIM card is useless for the operator. If you only need a number to receive SMS messages and you never spend a penny on it, the operator can block it and put it for sale.

Sometimes such numbers are caught immediately, so you may not have time to relink your account to a new SIM card. Then the buyer of such a number will be able to find your account on the appropriate website – and if he changes the password, it will not be easy to recover it.

In particularly unlucky situations, the new owner may even access the bank accounts and online wallets associated with that number and spend your money before informing the bank. For example, a woman in California changed her credit card after her operator sold her unused number to another customer.

What steps should be taken

  • Set a reminder to call or write from your secondary phone number at least once a month.
  • Always have some funds on your account.

How to avoid the problem of abandoned accounts

As you can see, even an unnecessary account can cause many problems if taken over by someone. Preventing problems is easier than dealing with their consequences, so we recommend that you remember about all the sites where you create an account. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Try to remember which websites you have an account on. Check which phone numbers and email addresses your accounts on social networks, online stores, banks and other relevant services are associated with, and disconnect all current profiles from inactive phone numbers and mailboxes.
  • If you log in somewhere with Facebook, Twitter or Google, please provide an additional email address or phone number for newsletters, public Wi-Fi, etc. and check these messages from time to time.
  • If you decide to opt out of your password manager, online store, or social media account,  remove your account from them .
  • Enable notifications about logging in to your account on websites that offer this option – and read them on a regular basis.
  • Use a security solution