Although instant messaging apps are growing in popularity and sophistication, email remains the medium of choice for long-form communication. Email also comes in handy for formal communication, tracking conversations, and account verification. For instance, your email account helps you verify your banking or social media accounts if you forget your username or password.
With email still playing a critical role in our digital lives, it’s a good idea to keep our email accounts as secure as possible. A threat actor with access to our email could potentially reset the login credentials to our sensitive accounts and commit identity theft. With our email, a hacker could also play man-in-the-middle and run scams against our contacts.
1. Set Complex Passwords
Set passwords that are challenging to hack. Your password should be at least ten characters long and carry uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It should also be devoid of common words and dates.
2. Secure Your Devices
Secure any device that carries your email app or login credentials, from desktops and laptops to mobile devices. Start by downloading anti-malware software from a reputable cybersecurity company that can stop viruses, spyware, keyloggers, Trojan password stealers, and other sneaky malware. Password-protect your devices and use biometric technology if available. Enable location features to find your device if it’s lost or misplaced.
You should also avoid checking emails on public computers. If you must, please remember to log out. You may also want to delete cookies to avoid leaving a trace of your digital footprint.
3. Enable 2-Step Verification
Activate 2-Step Verification to stop hackers from logging into your email account from unknown devices even if they have your passwords.
4. Recognize Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are fake emails sent by hackers that attempt to trick you into sharing private information or visiting malicious websites by playing with your emotions like greed, fear, or love. Some malware also tries to use trickery. For example, the infamous ILOVEYOU computer worm travels through emails that look like love letters.
Learn to identify red flags thrown up by malicious emails. For example, a legitimate business will never ask you to share sensitive information over email. Likewise, never open strange attachments or links as they may breach your account.
5.Create Separate Email Accounts
To enhance your privacy, create separate email accounts for work and personal communication, respectively. You can use your private email to create other accounts, talk to friends, sign up for mailing lists, and avoid exposing your work email. You may also want to use separate passwords for your emails for added security.
Never post your email address on a public forum like a message board or social media page, whether you have one email account or several. Scammers are always on the prowl for new email addresses to attack.
6. Take Advantage of Your Spam Filter
Use your spam filter effectively to iron out spam, malvertising, and phishing expeditions. Avoid replying to spam emails and report suspicious emails immediately.
7. Secure Your Network
Use your network firewall to control network traffic and block malicious activity. It’s also a bad idea to send emails over unsecured public WiFi networks where threat actors can steal your data. A high-tech VPN service subscription is an excellent way to secure public WiFi. Though don’t use free VPNs as they often spy on users and have weaker security protocols.
With so much essential data on your email, you should pay attention to security to minimize risks. Don’t let anyone have access to your email without your consent.