6 Tips to Protect Your Email Account From Hackers
Hackers can cause stress, inconvenience and financial loss for individuals, businesses and organisations. Once a hacker gains control of your email account, they can use it to send spam and phishing emails to your contacts, work colleagues and family members, often with the intention of infecting their computers or directing them to malicious websites. Hackers can also use your email account to gain access to other online accounts, such as your social media, banking and PayPal accounts. Here are 6 tips to protect your email account from hackers.
Use a Different Password for Each Account
Many people use the same password for all of their online accounts, including online banking, email accounts, social media and mailing lists. However, using the same password for multiple accounts makes it harder to protect your data. If a hacker discovers the password for one account, they can easily access your other accounts. The data held by mailing list providers will not be as secure as details held by banks and other financial institutions, so it’s especially important to use a separate password for accounts that store your credit card, banking or other financial details.
Create Complex Passwords
Avoid simple passwords or those that could be guessed, such as birth dates, anniversaries, names and addresses. Hackers can gather a great deal of personal information from your public social media profiles, such as the names of your family members or pets, the dates of anniversaries and your location. Use complex passwords with both uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and special characters.
Add Extra Security Layers
Many email providers now offer extra layers of security to protect your account. Extra security layers are optional services that can be activated through your email settings. For example, Google allows users of their Gmail service to set up a mobile phone verification service to prevent unauthorised access to emails. While extra security layers can be inconvenient, they are extremely effective in protecting your accounts.
Protect Your Devices
While most home computers have a firewall and antivirus software installed, many people forget to protect their mobile phones, tablets and other devices. Apple, Android, Windows and most other device operating systems support the use of third party antivirus software and security applications. Remember to update your security software regularly to keep your computers and devices protected with the latest versions.
Never Open Unknown Attachments
Attachments can contain malicious content designed to steal information, gain access to your accounts and infect your devices. Malicious content is often disguised as a legitimate attachment and may even appear to come from a reputable source, such as your bank, credit card company or even one of your contacts. Always take precautions when opening unsolicited attachments and use the highest security setting allowed by your email service provider.
Take Care With Public Wi-Fi
The information you send and receive over public Wi-Fi can be intercepted by other users connected to the network. Never use public Wi-Fi to enter sensitive information or access financial accounts. If you use public networks on a regular basis, it’s important to use extra security software and set the highest level of security on your computers and devices.
Hackers can cause problems for individuals, businesses and organisations, sometimes compromising sensitive data and leading to financial loss. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to protect your data and prevent unauthorise access to your email account. Taking a few simple precautions now can reduce the risk of problems in the future.