Unfortunately, email hacking is becoming more and more common. By breaking into your email accounts, hackers can gain access to your contacts, your personal information, and any important documents you have sent or saved. It is an issue that affects almost everybody with an Internet connection, but is especially worrying for those who use emails to send important work documents back and forth.
Thankfully, Syntax IT Support London has put together a list of ways to ensure your sensitive business information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
An Extra Step
One of the smartest ways to secure your email is to add an extra step to the log in process. By using a two-step password system, you will need to enter your password online, then wait for a 6 digit code to be sent to your phone which you then enter online to access your account. It might sound a bit long winded, but the extra minute is worth it when it comes to online safety. This option can usually be found under your email security settings, so switch it on to make sure your account is safe.
If adding an extra step to your log in process is too much for you, just complicate the one step you already have in place. Every extra letter, number or symbol you add to your password can makes it all the more secure, so try and make it as complicated as is reasonably possible. Finding the perfect balance between something complex and something you’ll remember is a great way of upping your security. A good option is choosing four seemingly random words which are memorable to you and adding a few numbers on the end, for example ‘YellowCatToffeeSpain838’.
The more random-looking your password, the more secure.
Don’t Hint Too Much
Password hints and security questions are there to jog your memory, but don’t make them so obvious enough that anyone else could guess the answers. If your password is ‘vanilla’, don’t make your hint ‘my favourite ice cream flavour’ as this gives a huge hint to anyone trying to access your account. Instead, try something more cryptic like ‘yum’ or ‘Scarborough 1999’ (i.e. a word signifying a memory or something personal to you). Your hint should remind you of your password without giving the answer to anyone else.
Complicate your Email
Your email address shouldn’t be too simple either. If John Smith’s email is simply ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, he’s leaving himself very vulnerable to hackers. Adding two or three numbers to your email can really boost its security – ‘email@example.com’ is already a lot more difficult to guess.
Bear in mind, however, that your email address needs to be used by others and so it shouldn’t be quite as cryptic or hard to enter as a password.
Check your Connection
Always be sure to take note of the service you are connected to. A secure connection can be vital in keeping your account safe, so don’t just log onto any connection simply because it says it’s available. Public Wi-Fi’s aren’t always the most secure so try not to stay logged on for too long if you’re not using your device, and if you don’t recognise it then it might be best not to log in at all.
Know Your Rights
No company, online business or bank will ever ask for your personal information out of the blue. This includes eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, PayPal and any bank such as Barclays or Lloyds. Therefore, if you receive an email asking a website you trust to verify your account details, it’s almost definitely a fraud and should be ignored.
Some company websites offer advice on how to deal with false emails supposedly sent by them, and might give an email address to forward the dodgy messages to. That way, they can keep on top of what’s being sent out and hopefully prevent you from having to receive any spam in the future.