Hackers are continually looking for new and improved ways to access personal and business email accounts. Once a hacker gains access to your account, they can gather sensitive data, such as your user names, passwords, answers to security questions and sometimes even your credit card details. Hackers can also use your email account to send spam, scam and malicious emails to people in your contact list. If hackers gain access to your business email account, they can cause a great deal of damage to your reputation and customer relationships. Protect your email from hackers with these five essential tips.
- Choose Maximum Security Settings
- Guard Your Email Address
- Never Click Email Links
- Only Use Secure Networks
- Update Your Software
Most popular email providers now offer additional security settings to help protect your account against unauthorised use. Gmail, for example, offers two-step verification, which allows you to specify a variety of steps, such as entering mobile phone verification codes, that need to be taken in order to access your email. Other email providers offer similar services.
In addition, remember to choose a password that hackers won’t be able to guess. Avoid using names, whole words, birthdays or anniversaries, as these are easy to guess. Many people use the names and birthdays of their children or pets as passwords, but hackers can often find this information by searching your social media activities. Try to include numbers, special characters and both uppercase and lowercase letters in your passwords.
Hackers and spammers use automated software to scour public forums, social media platforms, classified advertisements and other public locations for email addresses. Posting your full email address online can lead to a constant stream of spam and scam emails, some of which contain malicious software and links to infected websites.
If you need to post an email address online for business or other purposes, set up a separate email account and never use it to exchange sensitive information or customer details.
One of the most common ways for computers and devices to become infected with malware is through email links. Clicking on links in your emails can direct you to infected or spam websites. Never click email links, even if the email appears to be from a credible source. Always type the full web address when accessing bank or credit card accounts online, rather than clicking through from an email.
Downloading attachments from unknown sources can also lead to malicious software being installed on your computer. Check your email settings to make sure that attachments do not automatically download, as this will allow you to determine how trustworthy the sender is before opening any files.
Ideally, you should always use a wired network to access emails and websites that require an exchange of sensitive information. Information sent and received by wireless connections can be intercepted by hackers, particularly if the network is unsecured and has no password protection. If you must use wireless connections, make sure that the connection is provided by a trustworthy source, and that they use some form of encryption, as well as password protection. Always remember to disconnect from the network as soon as you have finished.
Regularly updating your operating system, security software, applications and other software ensures that you have the most recent security patches. Updates are often released to address vulnerabilities and security issues within the software that could allow hackers to access your computer or device. Always ensure that you download and install updates as soon as they become available, as this will add an extra layer of protection to your computers and devices.
Hackers are constantly finding new ways to access personal and business email accounts. If a hacker gains access to your email account, they can steal sensitive information, financial details and use your account to send malicious or spam emails. You can help to keep your email account secure by choosing the maximum security settings, guarding your email address, avoiding email links, using secure networks and updating your software regularly.