Email Security – How Not to Get Hacked

If you paid close attention lately, then you know that the WPA2 protocol used by a majority of Wi-Fi connections has been breached. Or, in other words, all personal data may be easily exploited by hackers. While even the tech industry is trying to find a remedy for this security flaw, one in three Americans experience a cyber-attack every 39 seconds. So, how safe are you?

According to the Security Center report, emails pose a serious threat to users since one in 131 emails contains malware. As the rates keep on getting higher when compared to the previous years, so does the number of phishing emails that are now up to 97.25%.

The fear of getting hacked is real and it’s never been more important to protect sensitive information, especially email accounts. Although we know how to recognize spam, hackers are getting more clever as well. But, you can stop a virus from spreading by applying a couple of useful techniques.

Change the Password

Everything starts with the password. So, access your account(s) and change it. If you have a weak 6 digit password, then you are in danger of getting hacked. Cybercriminals need only 10 minutes to crack a six lowercase letter code, hence, be sure to design an almost unreachable password with symbols, numbers, and upper and lower case letters. Still, just to be extra careful, check out the list of the most common passwords in 2016.

Add 2-Step Verification

Nowadays, most servers offer 2-step verification for email or other accounts. While hackers can use phishing methods to obtain your email address, they will not be able to crack the second step of the verification process. Why? Because they will have to have your phone, tablet, or other personal device to unlock it.

Sure, an additional set of random characters can be a drag, but look at it this way – hackers will not be able to get to your information, which saves you a lot of potential troubles.

Email Spoof Protection

As previously mentioned, hackers are becoming smarter. While we managed to increase safety from annoying spams, the new thing called spoofing appeared. Basically, spoofing email accounts is similar to phishing, only this time, you are left clueless.

How? By getting an email from someone you have on your contact list, someone you know, like a friend or family member, only it’s all a trick and you are being robbed of your data. And unfortunately, this type of hacking is very easy to perform.

However, you can outfox the fox if you:

  • Turn on your spam filters. Usually, every email provider has spam filters which differentiates between your inbox and other folders such as junk. If you see an email in the junk section, don’t unblock it and just move on.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links. Remember the whole you are the winner of the day charade? When you come across too generic messages encouraging to click or download attachments, think twice. Especially if you receive an email from a bank claiming you need to “click the following link because your account has been compromised” because no bank would send this.
  • Read domain names and IP addresses. Once you open the suspicious email, look at the IP address and compare it with previous emails you got from that person. That way, you will be able to determine if the sender is who they claim to be.
  • Ask your web host for help. You can always use the Help button under “settings” on your account to ask your hosts to change the SMTP server configuration in case you have noticed junk emails with your name or someone you know in the basket. If they refuse or can’t help, consider switching to another provider.

Use a Safe Network

There is an advantage to using Virtual Private Networks. VPN services can hide your internet activities and protect you from public Wi-Fi connections, or simply put, your data can be encrypted while passing through the network.

Nevertheless, you can also add an additional layer of protection by installing encryption software and changing your “easily guessable” security questions. Although doing all of this together may be a bit too much for some, you should always practice safety first. Meaning, open your eyes, double-check, and tighten your passwords.