We have been considering our email as a keeper of our personal information which mostly comprises details of our finances, employment, relationships, health and so much more.
That is why valid email security is essential to save ourselves and our network away from hacks and scams. Unprofessional would be an understatement when phishing emails from your account start troubling your work contact list.
When your email gets compromised, your other online accounts registered or linked with it may undergo the same end. A ‘forgot password’ attempt sets off a password recovery email that runs to none other than your email account and falling to scammers or hackers on that front means that all account security measures will be affected.
Once the hacker has altered your password, you will now be locked out of your account. Without further delay, here are the top 5 points to consider to set up precautionary measures to increase your email security.
#1 Set up a Strong Password
Make it a routine or practice changing your password to ensure that no one can access your account. Be careful not to make just any password. You must ensure that you see to it that your password should always be strong, random, and unique. I personally use password manager to have to help me out with these things but it was optional.
Another way to secure your email security is to enable two-factor authentication on your email account. It runs by giving a one-time secondary password to a registered phone number via text message. This will make your account hard to access, even if someone knows your password.
You can also maintain good security by logging in or checking your account regularly. This comprises checking your emails and making sure they are not being automatically forwarded to another account by anyone via redirects or filters. Check your login history and check if there is any unusual or suspicious activity. Your email provider may enable you to connect your account with other platforms or applications. Thus, you should assure that all connections are required and accurate.
#2 Use Transport Layer Security (TLS)
Transport Layer Security (TLS) guarantees that your connection with a website is encrypted and verifies the server’s trustworthiness that you are connecting to. TLS also works as encrypting connections to an email server and the connections within email servers.
Use the CheckTLS tool to check if your connection is encrypted between email servers. Make certain an encrypted channel is used to get your emails when using an external email client, such as Outlook or Apple Mail.
#3 Be Conscious of Tracking Links and Do not Load Images
Most companies oftentimes use a link that tracks the scope and efficacy of their emails, particularly newsletter providers. They do this to see how many people view the email, click on particular links, or even transmitted them.
Your browser will normally show the link’s landing page when you fly over it with your cursor. To examine it more, you can copy its landing page destination into a text editor. Placing the link on the Tor Browser to cover your location; however, the time that you opened the link would still be exposed.
These mailers can also contain images in their emails which are automatically loaded by a remote server when you open the email. A tracking code is held within the image which shows whoever opens the email to the mailing list administrator. To evade this, you can change your email provider settings to not load any images acquired by default.
#4 Be Cautious with Attachments
Always ensure that the email sender is trustworthy before you open on any emails that include attachments as it could hold malware, such as trojans and crypto lockers. You can use the built-in functionality to open the file formats usually affected such as .doc, .pdf, and .xls on your webmail provider or utilize a virtual machine to open them.
Handling your computer by regularly keeping it updated and installing antivirus software in it will give some protection, but they will not assure you that your computer is clean from viruses.
#5 Use PGP to Encrypt Your Emails
Encrypting emails will hinder them from being blocked, snooped on, or altered. Even expert and well-funded hackers would strive to get around this.
PGP or Pretty Good Privacy, also recognized as GNU Privacy Guard (GPG), is a software that can be utilized to encrypt your emails. This software will assure you that only the designated receiver can view the contents of your email; however, the receiver must also have kor be using the same software.
PGP will generate a key-pair of public and private keys on the sender and receiver devices. These keys are utilized to encrypt and decrypt emails, as well as check their authenticity.
While PGP is strongly secure, it does still transmit some metadata out in public. Metadata comprises the receiver and sender’s email addresses, the period when the messages were posted, and also the email size.
It is tough to evade disclosing your identity in metadata and may only be achievable if you completely quit emailing. If this is a primary concern, there are options. You can try Off-the-record (OTR), an encrypted chat protocol that does a great job of taking care and securing your identity. Your messages are not only encrypted, but every conversation is provided a unique key that restricts unlawful access.