Email hijacking is another form of man-in-the-middle attack, in which the hacker compromises and gain access to a target’s email account. The attacker then silently monitors the communications between the client and the provider and uses the information for malicious purposes.
For instance, at an opportune moment, the attacker might send a message from the victim’s account to their bank and instruct them to transfer funds to the attacker’s bank account. They might also use the email to take over other online accounts tied to the email account.
Email hijacking is usually staged through phishing and other social engineering scams, in which attackers deceive victims into revealing their credentials by directing them to bogus login pages or tricking them into installing a keylogger malware, which records the victim’s keystrokes and sends it to a remote server that the attacker owns.
While there are many guidelines and practices that can reduce the risk of phishing and email hijacking, the best way to prevent a malicious actor from taking over your email accounts is to strengthen your authentication. One solution is to use two-factor authentication, which requires users to have a secondary token (such as a mobile device or a physical key) in addition to the password when signing into the account. An even stronger solution is the use of passwordless authentication technologies, which totally obviate the need for passwords and make it impossible for hackers to gain access to accounts through phishing.