How to Keep Your Email Secure
Email is the go-to communication tool worldwide, and its functionality is growing and expanding as digital technology advances. Most people have multiple email accounts, which they use for different purposes, such as work, personal, job searching, etc. It is rare to see people who do not regularly use email. With such a high volume of email traffic going through servers daily, there is also a significant amount of cybercrime. This includes hijacking of email, assorted email scams, spam emails, emails containing malware or viruses, and more. Cyber protection is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather a must for all email users that want their email accounts to remain secure.
How do you Keep your Email Secure?
There are several go-to strategies that you can use to protect yourself from email fraud and the inconvenience of getting flooded by spam. They include:
- Select a Strong Password – This seems like an obvious recommendation, but in a world of too many passwords, many people opt for simpler options that can be more easily hacked. Ideally, your password should be something that would be very hard to guess or hack. It helps to have a long password with a mix of capital and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Some email accounts require certain criteria for passwords they will implement for users for this reason. Whether your email service has these mandates or not, consider choosing a phrase for your password that no one would guess, and then write it out using a mix of the character types mentioned above. For example, “WhatsLOVEgot2doW/it?” or “AnotherOneB1tesTheDu5t!” are both excellent passwords in terms of security and are easy to remember because they correlate with song lyrics.
- Using Built-In Spam Filtering – Your inbox is smarter than you think! Email services have spam filter settings that can allow your junk emails to go to a separate junk folder. They identify junk emails by the number of recipients on the email, keywords, and the sender’s server settings. Then, they filter these emails away from your inbox but keep them for you to scan at your convenience before deleting them after some time – usually thirty days. These settings are the default but can easily be modified should you have different preferences. It is recommended that you use some form of built-in spam filtering to avoid your inbox becoming too crowded and accidentally clicking into a fraudulent email.
- Blocking Spam Email Senders – Once you spot a spam email in your inbox, most email services give you the option of blocking all emails from the sender at the click of a button.
- Be Careful When Using Public Wi-Fi – There are additional security threats when using public Wi-Fi networks rather than private ones. If you must log in to your email when using public W-Fi, use a virtual private network (VPN) to hide all transmissions, notably passwords.
- Protecting your Email Address and Unsubscribing from Spam Emails – One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from fraudulent emails is to be judicious about sharing your email address. This will reduce the number of spam emails you receive but will not eliminate them altogether. When you see emails that you believe to be spam, you can unsubscribe from them via the sender or through your email account.
- Use Common Sense When Navigating Your Inbox – Statistics show that the most effective weapon against phishing email is common sense and being attentive to actions you take that pertain to your emails. Use common sense when assessing whether to open an email and never click links from unknown senders. When receiving emails from senders, you know, such as an online shopping website you frequent or a government agency, ask yourself if the request being sent is reasonable or suspect. Make calls to verify such emails.
- Utilize an External Security Professional Service for Email – If your email service’s built-in features are not enough to keep your email secure, consider getting an external service that works with your email by utilizing special filtering and firewalls of suspect emails. These are almost always paid services, and often businesses invest in them to keep organizational email accounts safe. Individuals can utilize these services for personal email as well.
In this modern world, we must balance the convenience of real-time electronic communication with a diligent approach to personal and business cybersecurity. If individuals and organizations educate themselves about cyber threats continuously and put in practice the above tips, they can stay ahead of most, if not all, email threats and keep their inboxes secure.