For the vast majority of us, email provides the central hub for our personal and professional internet activities. Unfortunately, as cybersecurity experts (and the growing number of breach victims worldwide) know too well, this means that our email accounts are lucrative targets for malicious hackers. While businesses must inevitably adapt to this new reality, the good news is that applying a few commonsense best practices can help keep your email secure.
Set strong, Unique passwords
Too many email accounts have easy-to-guess passwords that can be effortlessly cracked by hackers. To make matters worse, many people use one email account for all their personal needs. As a result, an exhaustive trove of personal information from online vendors, bank accounts, social media, as well as correspondence with family and friends is tied to a single set of (often weak) user credentials.
Secure password practices can go a long way when it comes to protecting your email accounts. Make sure you set strong, complex passwords that contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters, and resist the urge to reuse the same password for multiple accounts.
Secure your account with MFA
Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) is another important step. This creates an extra layer of security by requiring an additional verification method to access your account, such as a one-time-use code that's been generated by an authenticator app on your mobile phone.
Beware of email scams
Social engineering attacks like Phishing and Spear Phishing are on the rise and growing increasingly sophisticated, so you should always regard email links and attachments with a discerning eye. When you see a link in an email, don’t click on it unless you’ve assessed its authenticity and confirmed that it comes from a trusted source. Exercise similar caution with attachments, as these can be used by malicious actors to infect your device with malware.
As a general rule, it's never a good idea to share sensitive information of any nature via email, and it's always advisable to speak directly with a known contact to confirm their identity (and their motive) if they ask you to share information or send them money.
Monitor account activity
Be sure to sign up for alerts informing you of any suspicious activity on your email accounts, such as logins from unusual devices and IP addresses. If you suspect that someone has gained unauthorized access to your email, you should change your password as soon as possible, along with those of any accounts that could be compromised via information from your email correspondence.
Encrypt emails and update your software
Email encryption ensures that any messages you send won’t be viewable by unauthorized users. Meanwhile, installing the latest updates for your firewalls, anti-malware and email security software will help prevent many fraudulent emails from reaching your inbox, as well as fix other vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.
Protecting your email accounts from today's ever-evolving cyber threats may seem like a daunting process, but with the right support from knowledgeable IT professionals, it doesn't have to be. Want to learn more about the tools and best practices that can help safeguard your data assets from hackers' prying eyes? Get in touch with our experts today.