Email privacy and security should start the minute you set up your email account. You would be surprised at the amount of information someone could steal by having your email address. Below are 5 steps to security your email. Please take it seriously. These simple 5 steps to securing your email could save you from years of untangling the mess it would create.
5 Steps to Securing your Email
- Try to use as much unidentifying information. – What I mean by this is you don’t want to have your full name or birthday. For example, I would not use firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. He could use firstname.lastname@example.org or brightlights@gmail. Something not do identifying. I see some emails out there that can give me 10 clues as to who they are. Certainly not a good practice!
- Passwords – This is something I harp on constantly. Not only do you need to change the on a regular basis, but make sure no one knows what your passwords are. It is imperative that you keep your passwords strong, secure, and to yourself. You can still make it unique to you but stay away from your initials, your birthday, your address, etc. Kids names and date of birth is also a no-no!
- Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA). It is almost becoming the norm now. You will need to use your cell phone for this, or a 2nd email. Inconvenient? Maybe, but how inconvenient is it for you to reclaim your bank account or your identity? You want to make sure you are notified if someone tries to log into your email from a device unfamiliar to you. MFA will allow you to do this.
- Review any notifications regarding security – These are sent to you for a reason. Don’t blow them off as junk mail. Some email services will notify you of any security events in your account – such as changing your password, logging in from a different location or device, or changing other security settings. The security notifications may be sent to your secondary email address. Similar to the issue with two-step verification, if someone else had access to that secondary email address, they will know whenever you make any security changes to your account. You can choose to limit the notifications you receive or change the secondary email address to one that is more secure. (You can generally find the security notifications in the Security Settings section of your email account.)
- Don’t store the password in your browser – I know how tempting this is but that is the worst thing you can do. Use a password saving program like Dashlane or Lastpass. These services are cheap and secure. You will have all your passwords in one place and they will update as you change them. Don’t fool around with your email passwords.
These are just 5 steps to securing your email. I can give you many more but thought these were the most important. It seems we are fighting a daily battle with protecting our privacy on the internet. As email has become a way of life, so has hacking. Please stay safe!
Sheryl Cherico, CEO
Sheryl is the CEO of Tier3MD, an IT support group for medical practices, and Discovery Computers and Forensics, a digital forensic company.