Can Someone Hack Your Email Without a Password? Find Out.

Are you worried that your email account could be hacked without your password? The risks are real, and the consequences can be devastating. Hackers can access your sensitive information, steal your identity, and cause a lot of damage. But don’t worry, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. It’s no wonder people often ask if someone can hack their email without the password.

Email hacking without a password is possible, but generally requires social engineering, password guessing, or malware. It’s critical to use a strong, unique password, enable two-factor authentication, and be suspicious of all links and attachments received over email.

Your email account is more than just a virtual mailbox? It contains a wealth of information that hackers would love to get their hands on! So, let’s dive into how threat actors might access your email account even without your password.

Frustrated woman holding smartphone wondering how can someone hack your email without a password.

10 Sneaky Ways Hackers Could Access Your Email Without Your Password

Hackers are always coming up with new ways to get into your online accounts, including your inbox. Here are the most common ways cyberattackers get in.

Password Reuse

Plenty of people use the same password across multiple accounts, including email, which can be problematic if one of the accounts is compromised. If a hacker gains access to one password, they can use it to access other accounts belonging to the same user.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a tactic used by hackers to manipulate individuals into divulging their login credentials or personal information. This can be done through impersonation or by creating a false sense of urgency, such as claiming that the user’s account has been compromised and immediate action is required.

This can be insidious, especially when combined with other ways to trick you into giving up your password.


Phishing is a popular technique used by hackers to trick individuals into disclosing their login credentials. This is often done by creating a fake login page or email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or social media platform. Once you enter your login credentials, the hacker can use them to gain access to the account. It’s crucial to learn how to spot phishing.


Smishing is similar to phishing, but it uses text messages instead of emails to trick users into disclosing their login credentials or downloading malware. These messages typically appear to be from a trusted source, such as a bank, service provider, or via the spoofed number of one of your contacts. These SMS or MMS messages frequently contain urgent requests for the user to act.

Note: You can even get smished via messenger apps and your social media account. Be on guard.

Brute-Force Attacks

Brute-force attacks use specifically designed software to try thousands or millions of password combinations until the correct one is found. This can be an effective method if the user has chosen a weak or easily guessable password.


Keyloggers are a type of malware or virus that can be installed on a user’s device without their knowledge. Once installed, the keylogger can track every keystroke you make, including your login credentials. A dump of all your keystrokes is sent off to the attacker for remote analysis.

Physically Obtaining Your Device

If a hacker can physically obtain your device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.), they may be able to gain access to the user’s online accounts without the need for a password. This is particularly true if the user has saved their login credentials on the device, has active email sessions, or if the device is not secured with a password or biometric authentication.

Session Hijacking

Session hijacking is a type of hacking attempt where the hacker intercepts a user’s session cookie to gain access to their account without requiring the password. This can be done through various means, such as by using a network sniffer or by exploiting vulnerabilities in the website’s code.

Security Vulnerabilities

Hackers can exploit security vulnerabilities in the software or hardware of an online account to gain unauthorized access. This can include exploiting vulnerabilities in the website’s code, using outdated software that contains known security flaws, or exploiting hardware vulnerabilities such as those found in some mobile devices.

Insider Threats

Insider threats are a type of hacking attempt where an individual with authorized access to the email system backend or internal network misuses their privileges to gain access to an online account or email inbox without the password. This could include disgruntled employees, third-party contractors, or other individuals who have been given access to sensitive information.

If you suspect that your email has been hacked, there are several signs to look out for that can help confirm your suspicions.

Man at desk thinking about how can someone hack his email without the password.

What Are the Signs That Your Email Has Been Hacked?

One of the scariest things about email hacking is that it can go undetected for a long time. But there are certain signs that you can look out for to determine if your email has been hacked.

  1. Your contacts notify you they’re receiving spam or phishing emails from your email account.
  2. You are unable to log in to your email account, even with the correct password.
  3. Your sent folder contains messages that you didn’t send.
  4. You notice messages in your inbox that have been marked as read or deleted.
  5. Your email account settings have been changed without your knowledge.
  6. You receive a notification that your password has been changed on another device.
  7. You are unable to send or receive emails from your webmail or smartphone email app.

Knowing the signs of a compromised email account is important, but how do you clean up a hacked inbox?

What Should You Do if Your Email Account Has Been Hacked?

  • Change your password: The first thing you should do is change your email account password to a strong, unique password that you haven’t used before. This will help prevent the hacker from accessing your account in the future. For example, if you have a Cash App account or other financial apps tied to your email address, it’s critical to update the email password to prevent financial fraud. Remember to store this new password in your password manager.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: 2FA, multifactor authentication, or MFA adds an extra layer of security to your account. It requires you to provide a second factor, such as a code sent to your phone or a fingerprint, in addition to your email password when you log in.
  • Change your security questions: For some email accounts that use security questions, go ahead and update both the questions and answers you provided when registering. Many people often answers that are guessable or available via online through social media. 
  • Check your account settings: Hackers may change your email settings, so it’s important to review your account settings and make sure they are correct. Check your forwarding and filtering rules, as well as your signature and vacation message, to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.
  • Scan for malware: Run a virus scan on your computer to make sure it’s free of malware that could be allowing the hacker to access your account.
  • Notify your contacts: If you believe your email account has been hacked, notify your contacts to let them know that your account has been compromised. The hacker may be sending spam email or phishing messages from your account, so your contacts should be aware of the situation.
  • Contact your email provider: If you believe your account has been hacked, contact your email provider’s support. They may be able to help you recover your account or provide additional security measures and guide you.
  • Check your other online accounts: If you used the same password for other accounts, change those passwords as well to prevent the hacker from accessing them.
  • Monitor your financial accounts: If you have any financial accounts associated with your email address, such as credit card or bank accounts, it’s important to monitor them closely for any suspicious activity. Monitor your credit history for any new accounts or inquiries that you didn’t initiate. You may also want to consider signing up for identity theft protection services to help prevent and detect any fraudulent activity.
  • Be vigilant: Keep an eye on your email account and other online accounts for suspicious activity. Report any unusual activity to your email provider and other relevant authorities.

Now that you’ve taken steps to secure your compromised email account, it’s critical to learn how to protect it from hacking in the future.

Padlock and chain wrapped around envelope concept to keep someone from hacking email without a password.

How to Protect Your Email Account from Hacking?

Update your software: Ensure automatic updates are enabled on your computer and mobile devices. This will help keep your operating system and other software up-to-date with the latest security patches and fixes. Outdated software can be vulnerable to attacks and may provide an easy entry point for hackers.

Use a reputable antivirus software: Ensure your desktop and laptop computer have up-to-date malware software installed. This will help protect your computer from viruses, malware, and other malicious software that can be used to gain access to your email account or steal personal information.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi: Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks to access your email account or other sensitive online accounts. Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, which makes it easier for hackers to identify your traffic based on the IP address, then intercept your data in transit. If you must use public Wi-Fi, use a trusted virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your connection.

Regularly review your email account’s activity: Review your email account’s activity regularly to check for any unusual logins or activity. Report any suspicious activity to your email provider immediately. Also, regularly check your account settings to ensure that they have not been altered.

Be suspicious of all links and attachments: Be cautious when opening emails or clicking on links from unknown senders. If an email looks suspicious, do not click on any links or download any attachments. Report suspicious emails to your email provider. Hackers may use links or attachments to deliver malware or to steal your login credentials.

Consider switching to a more secure email provider: Some email providers offer more secure email services, such as end-to-end encryption or enhanced security features. Consider switching to a more secure email provider to reduce the risk of your account being hacked. For example, Proton Mail is an email service that provides end-to-end encryption and does not store any user data.

Open a new email account: If your current email account has been compromised, consider opening a new email account.  I know this can be difficult with so much already tied to your Apple ID or Gmail account. It’s best to do this transition over time and gradually inform your contacts of your new email address and update your online accounts.

It can be extremely helpful to know whether your email account has been compromised in a data breach for the future.

Can You Check if Your Email Has Been Compromised in a Data Breach?

You can check if your email has been compromised in a data breach by using online tools like Have I Been Pwned. This website allows you to enter your email address(es) and check if it has been involved in any known data breaches.

Have I Been Pwned works by collecting and analyzing data from various sources, including publicly disclosed data breaches, dark web marketplaces, and other online sources. The website also provides information on the types of data that were exposed in the breach and the date of the breach.

Have I Been Pwned was created and is maintained by Troy Hunt, a well-known security researcher and Microsoft Regional Director. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Developer Security, and a frequent speaker at international conferences on web security, privacy, and technology.

Troy Hunt created Have I Been Pwned in 2013 as a free resource for individuals to check if their personal information has been exposed in data breaches. Since then, the website has grown to become a trusted resource for millions of people worldwide.

Here’s a bit more information about the HIBP tool.

Other Questions You Might Have

What is email spoofing, and how can it be used for hacking?

Email spoofing is a technique that involves disguising the sender of an email to make it appear as if it was sent from a different source. Hackers can use email spoofing to trick users into revealing sensitive information or installing malware on their devices.

Can email encryption prevent email hacking?

Email spoofing is a technique that involves disguising the sender of an email to make it appear as if it was sent from a different source. Hackers can use email spoofing to trick users into revealing sensitive information or installing malware on their devices.

How can I spot a phishing email?

Phishing emails often have telltale signs, such as spelling and grammatical errors, generic greetings, urgent or threatening language, and suspicious links or attachments. They may also appear to come from a trusted source or mimic the design of a legitimate email. Be cautious and always double-check the legitimacy of any email before clicking on links or opening attachments.

Can you use a VPN to protect your email account from hacking?

Using a virtual private network (VPN) can add an extra layer of protection to your online activities, including your email account. A VPN can help encrypt your internet traffic and protect your sensitive information from hackers and other online threats. However, it’s still important to use strong, unique passwords and enable two-factor authentication for your email account.

Are there any tools or services that can help me protect my email account from hacking?

Yes, there are various tools and services available that can help you protect your email account from hacking. These include antivirus software, firewalls, email filters, and password managers. Additionally, many email providers offer built-in security features such as two-factor authentication and spam filters.

Mike Chu

Mike is a web developer and content writer living as a digital nomad. With more than 20 years of devops experience, he brings his "programmer with people skills" approach to help explain technology to the average user. Check out his full author bio by clicking here.

Recent Posts