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How To Secure Your Email: 5 Important Tips You Should Know

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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014


Email is the most popular form of communication on the web. Unfortunately, it is also the most vulnerable since losing your primary email account could mean losing details about your bank accounts, social networking user accounts, password reminders and tons of other personal details to criminals. Considering the sheer amount of important data that could be compromised in the event your email account gets hacked, it makes sense to learn how to secure your email accounts. Here are some important tips for email security:

1) Basic Protection 101
You can protect yourself from a majority of email based security threats by following some simple steps. Do not open emails from unknown people even if they are offering financial rewards or freebies. Likewise, do not click on suspicious links that appear to be from your bank (or PayPal) and ask you to update your personal details. Make sure to mark such emails as spam and delete them promptly.

Considering that email attachments are a major source of distribution of dangerous viruses or malwares, always make it a point to scan them before opening an unknown attachment. While accessing emails from shared computers (or internet cafes), do not use the option “Remember My Password” and make sure to delete cookies after logging out of your email account. Some email services allow you to bind your email account to a specific computer so if you always log into your email from the same computer or mobile device, consider using this option.

2) Passwords And Security Questions
Passwords are your first line of defense against hackers. Choose a strong password to protect your email account that contains a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Make sure not to use your name, profession, pin code, address or any other detail that could be obtained from your social networking accounts. As far as security questions are concerned, use a security question (or better, create your own) that cannot be answered even by your close friends or spouse. Also, make sure to set up two step authentication process so that you can reset your password by receiving a validation code on your mobile phone.

3) Secure Connections
In this age of surveillance, it is a good idea to use email providers that use a secure mode of connection to deliver their services. Gmail is a good example of an email service that uses secure connections (beginning with HTTPS) from login-to-logout and does not leak IP addresses of users through URLs.

It is also a good idea not to log into your email account from an unsecured wireless network. The free-to-use Wi-Fi hotspots do not use any security measures at all so there is always a possibility of losing your personal data (including email accounts) to hackers who are connected to the same network. However, if you need to use unsecured networks for sensitive activities (such as emailing), you must invest in a robust privacy solution such as a VPN.

4) Security Tools
It is always a good idea to use a good anti-virus and firewall software on your computer as well as mobile device. A good security tool would automatically scan email attachments and even protect you from phishing attacks. You must also keep you email client and OS updated so that you do not become a victim of the latest security threats specifically designed for them.

5) Use Encryption
If you do not want ISPs, network administrators or criminals to sniff out the content of your email, you must consider using a software or email service that encrypts your email. The biggest benefit of using this method is that the email can be decrypted only by entering a special passcode which should be known only to the intended recipient. If you cannot use encryption for some reason, consider using digital signatures within your email messages so that the recipient is absolutely sure that the message is indeed from you.


May 14, 2014
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