Now that everyone is nice and freaked out about the NSA stealing all of their data, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a program to determine how much the data in your Gmail account is worth — not to the government, but to the hackers that target such accounts, in case anyone forgot that this is still an issue.
The program is called Cloudsweeper, and is being used as part of a study to determine how people use and reuse their passwords, though you don’t have to participate to try out the tool. It scans the messages in your Gmail account, looking for passwords in plain text or resets, and other information about your accounts. In some less-than-reputable corners of the Internet, people will buy this information, and certain types of accounts (Apple, Amazon, etc.) are sold for certain fixed amounts. By seeing what information you have open in your email, the program will tell you how much hackers could sell the information for. After you test your accounts, you can then use Cloudsweeper to encrypt the passwords it has found.
My email was apparently worth $28.60 before I encrypted my passwords, but let’s be honest: You would pretty much just find college papers and whining about feelings if you bought the data from my account. It would just be embarrassing for the both of us.
Try Cloudsweeper yourself.
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