Poll: Which Email Provider Is Hacked the Most?

Has your email ever been hacked? Have you received emails from someone whose email was hacked? If you’ve ever had your email hacked you know the horrible feeling when you realize someone has been sending out emails from your account. You hope that no one is fooled by the bogus message, but you worry that your friends and colleagues will fall prey to the hacker’s bait.

A year ago, my email was hacked, prompting me to write Hack Attack! What to Do if Your Email is Hacked. Since then, that article has received the most traffic on this blog nearly every day.

People use different search terms to find the Hack Attack! article, but one particular email provider appears in searches far more frequently than any other. Every day, many people are searching about this one specific email provider getting hacked, while I rarely see other email providers being named in searches. This could be because of how search engines direct traffic to my blog or it may be because that email provider gets hacked much more than others.

The immense popularity of that search term has led me to wonder how widespread this problem is. Is one email provider more vulnerable to hacking than others? Is there an email provider less vulnerable to hacking?

While evil hackers will always try to attack email accounts, we should know whether there is an email provider who (for now) is a safe haven against these attacks. Please vote in today’s Wonder of Tech poll and let us know your experiences.

While the poll results aren’t scientific, I hope they will provide us with an insight as to how pervasive this problem is and if there are currently any safe havens from hacking. If one email provider is more vulnerable to hacking than the others, this poll could reveal that information as well. Be sure to check back later to see the results of the poll.

Last week I received the following email from a friend of mine whose email had been hacked:

Good Morning,
           I’m writing this with tears in my eyes My Family and I traveled on a trip to ManilaPhilippines,Unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed all cash,credit card and cell were stolen off us but luckily for us we still have our passports with us. We’ve been to the embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all and our flight leaves in less than 5hrs from now but we’re having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the bills. We need your financial assistance to settle the hotel and we Promise to pay back as soon as we get back home. Am freaked out at the moment.

The email was fake, she wasn’t in the Philippines and her family wasn’t mugged. This email, and variations of it are common these days. Don’t be fooled and send money to a friend based on an email request unless you talk to the sender first and verify his identity.

Have you ever received a hacked email that fooled you? Have you ever clicked on a link or acted on a suspicious email message? Let us know in the Comments section below!

* Hacker Detected image by eR0n22

** Hacker Stamp image by Joojoojoojoo

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    Hacking isn’t that easy and so I suspect many cases of so called hacking is an ‘inside job’. My ISP has a call centre in India and I get spam email to accounts I hardly ever use from India!

    It’s an interesting survey, I will be interested to know which one is most secure.
    Mike Maynard recently published this awesome post..How to write blogsMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Mike, Yes, I thought this would be very interesting. Whether there is an email provider that is more vulnerable or not, it will be valuable to know. If all are equally vulnerable, then the burden is totally on us to keep our email accounts safe. But if one provider gets hacked more than others, that will be good to know as well.

      I really look forward to seeing the results of this poll. Thanks for voting, Mike!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..How to Add and Delete Kindle Books Easily (With or Without a Kindle)!My Profile

  2. says

    Interesting poll Carolyn!

    I think I’m lucky so far that my email account hasn’t been hacked so far, though I do get a lot of emails that one’s very doubtful about opening! Certain attachments or even just one liner mails,or someone passing on certain awards to you, are all indicators that those are fake emails or shouldn’t be touched, and for a long time now I’ve been spamming such emails, thus their frequency has reduced quite a lot.

    However, I’ve also noticed that Gmail is better at handling spam emails as compared to Yahoo, which is where I had an earlier account. So, it’s always been Gmail for me now and it’s working very well.

    Looking forward to seeing the results of the poll though – thanks for sharing. :)
    Harleena Singh recently published this awesome post..7 Easy Ways to Find Inner StrengthMy Profile

  3. Hajra says

    Hey Carolyn,

    My gmail account was once hacked but then I don’t blame in any way. I was using a public computer and it might have been possible that I didn’t log out correctly. I wonder if there is any particular provider that tends to be more vulnerable. I highly doubt that. And I would never doubt gmail. Somehow I trust it far too much! ;)

    • says

      Hi Hajra, Good point, even if you’re sure of your email provider’s security, it’s a bad idea to log in when you’re on an open Wi-Fi network. No need to tempt the hackers!

      But I’ve received email questions from readers who don’t think they’ve revealed their email address to anyone, yet they were hacked anyway. How it happened is a mystery so sometimes we don’t know how it can happen.

      Thanks so much for voting, Hajra!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Uber – Your Magic Wand for Riding in Style!My Profile

      • Hajra says

        Ya it sort of amazes me, whats up with that. My cousin had a friend who indulged in “ethical hacking” for a firm (I don’t know what that really could do!) but then he always told me that when you know a person well, you could easily “guess” their passwords! I have to talk to him more about this!

        • says

          Hi Hajra, Yes, ethical hackers are very valuable. They can show the vulnerabilities of companies’ computer systems so companies can protect against the evil hackers.

          Ethical hackers are those who use their talents for good instead of evil. We’re lucky there are those who want to do right in the world.
          Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..TripIt – Your Personal Travel Assistant!My Profile

  4. Barbara says

    Hey Carolyn, quite an interesting poll. I hope it does not attract the wrong competitive crowd! I consider myself very lucky as compared to others who constantly have problems with their accounts.

    The sweet SOS calls? Yes, I once received one but I reported it. And for days I was worried that my account had been hacked but it must have been the “sender” – what a relief!

    Have a great week!

    • says

      Hi Barbara, You’re right, I can’t control if someone wants to respond falsely, but I hope that people vote with what really occurred so we can see if one email provider is safer or more vulnerable than others.

      I’m glad you reported the SOS spam emails. This one has been going around for a while, but in case people hadn’t seen it yet, I wanted to warn them.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and voting, Barbara!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..How To Change Your Twitter ID SuccessfullyMy Profile

  5. says

    What? I shouldn’t have sent that money to get you out of that Turkish prison? I was just trying to do the ‘right’ thing for you…..

    I have seen some of my friend’s e-mails come through that have obviously have been hacked; most are easy to spot and I just delete them. Up until I got so heavily involved in ‘social,’ most of my e-mails were from our corporate site and to the best of my knowledge we have never been hacked. Recently, I’ve been using my Gmail account more, but nobody has brought anything to my attention so maybe I have been lucky. I do know it’s very prevalent.

    Hackers should be shot on sight.
    Bill Dorman recently published this awesome post..It’s only cheating if you get caughtMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Bill, No that email was real. Thanks a million for the million.

      Yes, hacking is very prevalent, which is good in a way because people know to avoid clicking on links or sending funds based on suspicious emails.

      Hackers being shot on site sounds like a great idea, Bill. They are common criminals and I hope that more and more are caught and prosecuted.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..How To Change Your Twitter ID SuccessfullyMy Profile

  6. says

    I’ve had a yahoo and hotmail account hacked in the past, fortunately I recovered both, even though I imagine they were hacked because I only use them once in a blue moon. I didn’t know it had been hacked until I received an email from myself, with a link, that was for some “work at home” thing. However, my friend was hacked as well and I received a similar email to yours above, however she was in Spain I think, with no money, etc, etc.

    • says

      Hi Nickie, I’m sorry your email accounts were hacked. I’m surprised that you were hacked when you didn’t even use the accounts. That makes me wonder how hackers got your passwords.

      Just so you know, I have enabled voters to vote more than once in cases such as this where you have more than one email account.

      Thanks for stopping by, Nickie. I’m glad you didn’t fall for your friend’s hacked email message!

  7. says

    Hey Carolyn,

    When I first got online and started using more social media sites my FB account was hacked once. I quickly learned my lesson and anytime I ever get any message or email from a friend with nothing but a link, I instantly delete it and call them letting them know what I received.

    I recently had a friend send me an email letting me know her gmail had been hacked in case I received any unusual emails from her. She admitted though that it happened because she had just gotten a new smartphone and hadn’t done everything properly to set it up.

    I’ve been very blessed up to this point that other than that one time, I’ve never had this issue. I’ve taken as many precautions as possible and will just continue to hope for the best. I can’t imagine though this happening.

    I hate so many people have this issue but I’m sure you’ve been able to steer them in the right direction.

    Have a great week Carolyn,

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently published this awesome post..Why I Joined Numis NetworkMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Adrienne, I’m glad you’re email has never been hacked, but I’m sorry your Facebook account was hacked. I wish that hackers would just leave us alone, but until then we can take steps to avoid logging into our accounts over unsecured networks. I’m thinking that may be what happened to your friend with her new smartphone.

      Thanks for stopping by and voting, Adrienne!

  8. Liane says

    Hi, great article. This just happened to me. I wracked my brain for days to figure out how someone would have two different passwords for a yahoo.mail and a yahoo.att.mail account and then, as I read your post the light went on. Both those accounts converge in YAHOO groups. I own two yahoo groups. I use my ISP email as owner. Its good for a Yahoo group to have access two ways, since they have been known to lock out an owner of a group. So my backup email and profile for the group is a throwaway Yahoo email. One day last week, I got what you described happen. My isp account spammed my address book and sent an email to my gmail account. Nothing went to the yahoo account but yahoo has a nifty gadget that lets you look at your log in history. Even though ATT uses yahoo mail to run their email instead of doing it themselves, they do not allow users access to this information. A very good reason for uVerse users to not use their att.net email addresses for anything but uVerse business.

    I am a person who wants to know HOW and this is so frustrating, but I did find in the process of trying to discover who hacked my isp mail they also hacked my yahoo mail. Different user names, different passwords, and the yahoo profile contained a phony birthdate and I never put my real name in the profile. Weird, huh?

    • says

      Hi Liane, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I am very sorry that happened to you. That can be very frustrating, especially when you are running Yahoo Groups. I agree, when it happened to me, I wanted to know how it happened, so I could avoid having it happen again.

      I hope you are able to figure out how it happened, Liane so you can prevent it from occurring again. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with us.

  9. Ehsan says

    Hello Carolyn,

    I’m so happy! My email from Gmail and Yahoo never got hacked till now. I’m not using the other ones (Hotmail, AOL etc)
    And thanks GOD I have received any hack email till now. Will try to protect my emails and myself from those hackers:P
    Ehsan recently published this awesome post..20 Must Have WordPress Plugins For Your BlogMy Profile

  10. Anneliz Hannan says

    Hi Carolyn:

    I had my Gmail account hacked several years ago and I was miserable. I felt so horrible about my friends but they understood. I was mostly embarrassed about my professional contacts. You feel like an idiot and responsible.

    I haven’t been hacked in years, perhaps better settings and a more secure password but I received an obvious hacked link from a family member just yesterday. Unfortunately many of us don’t know until we are notified by a contact. She uses Yahoo.

    I am looking forward to the results of the poll. I feel most comfortable with Gmail and agree with @harleenas that they a very good about spam. In the end, nothing is absolute or completely safe from the hackers of today.

    Thanks for the poll, I look forward to following the results.

    Anneliz

    • says

      Hi Anneliz, I agree with you about the feeling when your email account is hacked. It’s very embarrassing, especially if the spam email is sent to professional contacts.

      By now, I think most people realize that the problem is widespread and understand if they see an obvious spam message in their inbox. You’re right, hackers are getting into more and more sites these days, including government sites. I hope more is done to stop these criminals!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..DriveSmart: The Cure for a National Epidemic?My Profile

  11. says

    I really don’t feel like any one email service is more or less “hacker-prone” than the others. You could argue that hackers simply aim for the most popular service (e.g, Gmail or AOL) though, but that still doesn’t mean that security is lax; Throw enough keys at a lock, and one of them is sure to open it.

    • says

      Hi JT, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! You may be right, but so far the poll results are showing a different story. The most popular email provider in the poll is Gmail but so far over 6x as many people say they have not had their Gmail accounts hacked as those who have. Yahoo, on the other hand, shows as many people who have been hacked as those who have not been hacked. Stay tuned to the poll results as people continue to vote!

  12. says

    My friend encountered this kind of scam. Someone is using her cousin’s account name. She was asking help because she’s being trapped somewhere in Spain and blah blah.. Thanks for these information. Some people were not aware of these.

    • says

      Hello Heines, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Spain seems to be the popular country right now for these scammers. Unfortunately, a lot of these messages are being sent out so I want to make sure no one is fooled by these evil spammers.

      Thanks for stopping by to vote, Heines!

  13. home ladder says

    Hi carolyn, my hotmail account has been hacked once. Now i am using google account, it is safe and fast, also there are lots of different functions. I think google is the best one, I am not sure about the yahoo one.

    • says

      Hello home, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, I like the functionality of Gmail, plus it seems to be the one least hacked according to the poll. So far in the poll results, Yahoo seems to be the most vulnerable with as many people saying they were hacked on Yahoo mail as those who haven’t been hacked on Yahoo mail. The votes keep coming in though so stay tuned! :-)

  14. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    My email account has never been hacked although I faced malware problems on my blog once. I think the reason email account gets hacked is people using too simple password ( which has 123, birthdays and name initials). I do not have complicated passwords but often putting a twist in the ( like a number or special character) really makes them secure.
    One of my relative’s account was hacked and mails sent to everyone that he is stuck in spain( why not in any other place ? ;) ) and needs money. Many of the relatives panicked and called him to ensure this was not so. I was able to recover the account for him but then a strong password would have helped.
    Ashvini recently published this awesome post..Businesses that destroy value lose loyal customersMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Ashvini, You’re right, having a strong password is very important and using characters is especially effective.

      Having malware on your blog can be even worse though because you have no way of knowing who has visited your blog and perhaps clicked on a malicious link.

      You’re right, these sorts of spam emails not only cause problems, they cause worry to your contacts. If people are aware of the scam, they won’t fall prey to it and won’t worry about their loved ones.

      Go away, hackers! >:/
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Worldictionary: Your Mobile Translator!My Profile

  15. Matt Clarke says

    I am quite lucky that I have never had my email hacked so I voted for that option. However, nearly every week I receive an email from a friend who has, and I always feel bad for them. I hope that as more and more of these scams are discovered, people are more careful about the emails that they open. I don’t like being cynical but you can’t be too careful these days! I use Gmail and have never had any issues, I can personally recommend it as a great email system.

    • says

      Hi Matt, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, you are lucky that you’ve never had your email hacked, but you can see from your friends’ email messages that it happens quite often. So far, Gmail is definitely ahead when it comes to email accounts that haven’t been hacked. I am a big fan of Gmail as well, though sometimes they send my Wonder of Tech email notices to spam.

      I hope you never have this problem, Matt. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to vote and comment! :-)

  16. says

    It’s been a while, but my gmail was hacked and all or at least most of my contacts received an email from me inviting them to a contest to win an iPad :)

    I changed my password using 1Password to the strongest password on the planet, and after that everything has been fine :)
    Jens P. Berget recently published this awesome post..Facebook contests – 14 Apps To Help You OutMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Asher, You’re right, better security measures need to be taken. This poll is trying to determine if one email provider’s security measures are better than another’s. I hope the poll results give us a clear answer. Thanks for voting!

  17. Ruth Zive says

    My email hasn’t been hacked (that I’m aware of), but my Twitter account has been hacked! I’m not really sure what drives ‘hackers’ – especially when it isn’t evident from the hack. Is it just the thrill? Or are they actually stealing something unbeknownst to you?! What am I missing Carolyn?

    • says

      Hi Ruth, Good question. Hackers hack for a variety of reasons. Some do it for the thrill, others hack for evil intentions such as infecting computers with malware. Others hack to try to steal money, such as the spam email I gave as an example in the article.

      What ever reason they may have, hackers are unwelcome intruders!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Worldictionary: Your Mobile Translator!My Profile

  18. says

    Got aqn E mail claiming my friend Carol B. was stuck in Manila and needed $3,5oo to pay the hotel bill.

    I guessed it was a scam and it was.

    Jerry

    • says

      Hi Hemanth, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I’m glad to hear none of your email accounts got hacked. My husband’s Yahoo email account was hacked overnight. Perhaps it was the hacker’s revenge against this article?

      You’re absolutely correct, strong passwords are a good way to combat against hackers. Also people should avoid logging in over unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

      Thanks for stopping by to vote!

  19. says

    Well i would have to say that it isn’t easy to get hacked! usually it takes the use of the same password! SO the main advice is to use different passwords because if they get one password there going to check all of them!

    • says

      Hi Jake, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I am very glad you’re here but I respectfully disagree with you. A lot of people get hacked every day so I think it is quite common. My husband’s email got hacked today and he had a unique password for his email account.

      You’re right, though. Using unique passwords is very important. Thanks so much for stopping by and voting, Jake!

  20. Jon says

    The WWW is more commonly known as the Information Highway. Every day millions travel on real world highways and many get involved in serious accidents and some die. Why would a highway in cyberspace be any less hazardous. Too many take safety for granted when they’re online but that assumption is dangerous.

  21. says

    I was just about to say no, I’d never been hacked but I remembered an incident that happened just over a year ago. (Still not sure if I was hacked) I got some bounced emails that originated from my email address and was sent to people on my contact list. (these were people I’d emailed once, or hadn’t spoken to in years so I knew it was strange) I instantly logged in and changed my password, but as I had some professional contacts that I didn’t want to offend I quickly deleted every single contact in my contact list thinking I’d be safe. (I was, didn’t happen again)
    Problem arose a couple days later when I logged into my MSN where I had about 100 people I DID contact quite often only to realize that my email contacts when deleted also deleted every one of my MSN contacts. :(
    To this day I have 3 people on my MSN and have since stopped logging in LOL

    • says

      Hi Warren, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I am very sorry that happened to you. It sounds as if the hacker caused quite a few problems for you! I can understand why you didn’t want to use MSN after being hacked and accidentally deleting your contacts. I hope your new email provider is a better fit for your needs, Warren!

      Thanks for stopping by and voting! :-)

  22. says

    Hi Carolyn, thank you for sharing this. Well, my email has never been hacked or whatever. But there is one message my friend receives it like every month and it all came from my email which I never did send her. The message doesn’t contain any important stuff, it just send randomly. I have no idea how it has been happening.

    • says

      Hi Anurag, According to the poll results so far, Yahoo seems to be hacked the most, with more people saying their Yahoo email accounts were hacked than those whose weren’t. Gmail seems to be the safest with most people saying their Gmail accounts haven’t been hacked.