Best Practices to Secure Your Email
Create a Strong Password
One of the first tip to protect your emails account from hackers is to create a strong password and keeping it confidential. Viruses and worms have the capability of guessing weak passwords . Also to memorize them, we often create passwords based on our names, date of births etc. which makes your email account more vulnerable. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team advises people to use mnemonics, that is, instead of a password like 'michaelsmith' you can create your password as MNIMS which stands for 'my name is michael smith'. Mnemonics generated passwords are stronger and less vulnerable to be hacked.
Identify Phishing Emails
The college of New Jersey explains that phishing is a scam where a hacker sends out emails that look legitimate and like they are from established nationally recognized companies, to try to steal your information and possibly your email passwords. Mails asking to update your bank accounts, passwords are some of the common examples. These mails are not legitimate, but are made to resemble one by employing social engineering techniques. Now the question is how would you identify phishing emails? A phishing email commonly uses the following words, 'verify your account', 'you have won a lottery', 'if you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed' etc. Whenever you find such emails in your inbox, don't reply immediately and instead verify with the bank/company if they have sent that mail.
Secure your Computer
Update your anti-virus and anti-spyware software. You may think that your computer is protected as you have installed an anti-virus software, but hackers think about how to break your security gate all the time. Once they find a loop-hole in your computer's security, they modify the viruses accordingly. The solution is to update your security software so that you are always one step ahead of them. Apart from this, you should always update your email security settings.
Be Cautious While Opening Attachments
One of the most common ways of sending emails is by email attachments. Whenever you open an attachment, check for the URL. Be cautious even if the attachment is being sent by someone you know as many viruses can 'spoof' the return addresses. Also turn off the option of automatically downloading attachments.
Follow the Basic Safety Measures
Try using your email account at secure locations and remember to logout whenever accessing it from a shared computer. Change your passwords frequently and be aware of the latest happenings with regard to viruses, email scams, email security policy etc.
Along with the innumerable benefits, computers and internet have left us vulnerable to cyberterrorism. But the good thing is that we can prevent ourselves from being a victim, if we follow the above mentioned email safety tips. We all need to be well informed and guard ourselves against hacking, phishing etc. The hackers thrive on ignorance and casual behavior of people. I hope after reading this article, you will surely adopt a cautious approach whenever you use your email. The fight against cyber crime can only be successful if we all are better prepared and responsible.