These days, many of us handle a significant proportion of our communications via emails. We write online messages for not only work but also to stay in touch with friends and family members, bloggers, the businesses we buy from, and more. As a result, we must take steps to stop our email accounts from being hacked.
With so many millions of accounts out there, though, with so much juicy information, cybercriminals are always looking for ways to gain access to the data. Here’s what you can do today to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
Install Security Software on Your Devices
Make sure you have security software installed on all the devices from which you log in to your email account. Choose quality internet security that works to prevent hackers from breaking into your systems and accessing your emails from there.
Opt for a comprehensive product that covers you against several different cybercriminal attacks. For example, the best software prevents ransomware, spyware, spam, viruses, and other malware. You also want privacy protection when you’re browsing online and for harmful websites to be blocked. Plus, your security software should block phishing emails and protect you against applications created purely to steal data.
Set Up Hard-to-Crack Passwords
Many people’s emails get broken into each year because they don’t protect their accounts with adequate passwords. Avoid putting yourself in this situation by choosing codes that hackers won’t be able to guess easily. Hard-to-crack passwords are reasonably lengthy (at least eight characters) and include a combination of lower-case and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
Your code should not relate in any way to publicly listed information, such as things you put on social media sites. Steer clear of child or pet names, email addresses, lucky numbers, birth dates, and so on. Also, change your password at least once or twice per year to increase security, and use a different code for your email to what you use elsewhere. This way, if your password gets compromised on another account, your email won’t be vulnerable at the same time.
Run the Latest Versions of Programs
To stay safe from hacker attacks, keep all the software on your computers updated. If you don’t, hackers could find security gaps in the programs and get into your systems and then emails from there. This is the reason why developers release new versions of their software every so often – the updates plug any gaps that have opened, security-wise, since the release of the last edition.
A variety of elements need updating, such as operating systems, browsers, apps, plugins, games, and more. Set up all programs to update automatically whenever new editions come out. This way, you don’t have to remember to do the job manually, and you won’t have any gaps in time where versions are out of date.
Carefully Select which Email to Open
Another key tip is to be very careful about which emails you open. Hackers frequently send out malware-infected messages or emails with dodgy links or attachments in the hope that people will open the communications or click on links and in doing so infect their computer with a virus.
Many cybercriminals are experts at making emails seem to come from genuine sources, such as banks or telecommunications firms. They copy the logos, headers, and other information from real communique, and trick people into thinking they have received messages from organizations they have accounts or otherwise deal with.
Be savvy about which messages you open by checking the email address they come from. Those from hackers will use addresses that don’t feature a company’s proper domain or that otherwise appear strange. Be on the lookout for other red flags, too, such as logos that don’t seem quite correct, requests to provide personal information you shouldn’t have to, or links that take you to a page where you have to log in (this is how hackers get your password and other sensitive data).
Avoid Logging into Email Accounts on Public Wi-Fi
Keep in mind, too, that if you log in to your email account on unsecured public Wi-Fi, you’re leaving yourself more vulnerable to a cybercriminal’s attack. Sometimes it’s necessary to login when you’re out and about or traveling, but avoid this where possible and be sure to log out of your account before you leave the computer.
It’s much better to use password-protected internet options where you know no one can scan the network for information or where the computer you’re on hasn’t been compromised with a virus.
When you’re busy with work, family, and other life commitments, the last thing you need is to have your email hacked and to lose messages, have vital information stolen, or suffer other consequences. As such, follow the strategies listed above to secure your email account and avoid the stress of a digital break-in.