Emails have become an essential tool of communication. They have replaced the need to send letters. With an increasing number of people using emails, hackers have been on the prowl sending malware and phishing tools to unsuspecting users. Most email accounts contain sensitive data, which in the wrong hands can lead to untold financial loss.
The question you need to ask yourself – is my email account secure? If you are not sure, read on.
This guide will offer you simple yet practical ways to secure your email accounts.
Most people do not take the time to create strong passwords. They will often use their pet, children, or spouse name and add a few characters after that. These passwords are the easiest to guess and hack. When creating a password avoid using personal details. Use something that is unrelated to you. Have a mix of Large and small caps, digits, and symbols. The longer your password,the more difficult it is to hack. You should also avoid using the same password across different websites. Occasionally change your passwords.
Many accounts now come with two-factor verification. Once you enter your email address and password you will be required to enter a code sent to your phone or another email address. A hacker will not access your email account without access to your device.
Closing unused accounts
Unused and unclosed accounts are increasingly being hacked. Since you rarely use them, you may not be aware that they have been hacked. The problem arises when you use the same passwords for your new accounts as the old or leave personal details that can help hackers get access to your new accounts. Most of the time hackers will compromise your personal email address and then go to your social media accounts. You can prevent this from happening by having strong “secret questions” or performing a password reset. The beginner’s guide to VPNs will help you set up a secure private network that will keep your emails safe from hackers.
Use multiple accounts/providers
To avoid losing all your information during an attack has separate accounts – personal and business. Most email providers provide free email – Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail. Setting up these accounts is easy, and you should be sending emails within minutes. You can also access your emails on the go through various Apps. You can use the free emails for your personal accounts.
But when you have sensitive business data been sent, you can opt to get end-to-end encryption emails. These type of accounts prevent man-in-middle attacks. The downside is that you pay for this service and setting up is harder than the free emails. The receiver of the emails also needs to have one of these accounts otherwise they will not be able to encrypt it.
Avoiding online sniffers
A sniffer is software that crawls the web looking for passwords and log in details. If you have accessed your email address through public networks, then chances of these happening are high. Encryption software makes data look gibberish for sniffers. Besides encryption, you can use HTTPS instead of HTTP to access your emails. If you are accessing a site through a different browser check the address bar for this. For email clients like Outlook, you will use POP or IMAP when configuring accounts. This protects your passwords and login details but leaves data being sent open to attack. You can add another layer of security called Transport Layer Security (TSL). This encrypts all the data being transmitted between client and server. However, your inbox is still public and you will need to be extra careful to keep it from prying eyes.
Review Security notifications
Most of the times when there is an unauthorized entry into your email accounts you will be sent a notification on your secondary email. Should you not recognize the device or computer used to login you can immediately change your password.
Log out emails from public devices
There are those moments you decide to access your emails in public places like libraries or another person’s device. Most people forget to log out and assume that after closing the browser they are safe. What you should be aware of is anyone who uses the browser can view your emails. You should be careful when you log in with email apps. Since most of the time, you let your browser save the passwords hackers can gain access to your emails when your phone is stolen.
Disallowing Browser to remember passwords
Exercise caution when allowing your browser to remember passwords. Anytime you key in a new email address and password you will be asked whether you want your browser to store this password. While most people accept for convenience, it can be catastrophic when someone steals your laptop or mobile phone. You can allow for less-sensitive passwords like for gaming or video sites,but for personal accounts, you need to reconsider your decision.
Be cautious when giving emails
There many places you will be required to give your email address – online stores, promotions, and vouchers. It is like everyone wants your email address. You have to be extremely cautious who you give your email address to. Some people are intent on carrying out fraud. Alternatively, you can create a junk email address which you can issue to people who you have no relation to. You can then use your personal account for bank statements or essential contacts. Avoid opening emails with attachments as this may contain viruses and malware. Have an anti-virus installed to your computer to check any phishing activities. You should also be wary of sharing personal details online. There moments a company will request you to fill out details like credit cards and passwords.
We use our email accounts for a variety of purposes. Keeping our emails from fraudsters is paramount considering the personal information that they hold. You should be careful setting up passwords and avoid leaving your accounts open. By investing in a good VPN network you can eliminate man-in-middle attacks.