The Ultimate Personal Email Security Checklist
In today’s busy and tech-dependent world, Email continues to be a bigger part of our personal and professional lives. We check our email and use it more frequently than ever before with our smartphones, tablets or laptops. According to a recent study from Radicati Group approximately half of the world population have used email in 2017, and the number of users is expected to reach 4.1 billion by the end of 2021.
While we tend to be more vigilant about our professional email security we often overlook our personal email security, constantly telling ourselves that it wouldn’t happen to us. Scammers and hackers are always looking for the smallest security gaps to exploit, to target people who don’t have the right online security measures in place!
Most of our email security comes down to adopting small and easy habits that we have rounded up for you to become your own Personal Email’s Guard & Scam Detector!
- Password Security:
- Use strong & long passwords. Obvious and generic combinations like “Qwerty” or “Name1234” etc. must be avoided. It is preferable to mix capital and small letters with numbers and symbols.
- Don’t use the same passwords for all your accounts no matter how good it is. Your login to your banking & financial accounts, for example, should be completely different from the ones you use for your regular social media accounts.
Hackers would most likely try your password with small variations on your different accounts.
- Regularly change your passwords, ideally every 6 months (unless your memory span is anything like mine, you’d be hitting that reset button regularly)
Keeping your antivirus and browser continuously updated is essential. Although not all emails will infect your device with malware and viruses, it is always better to stay cautious and schedule your antivirus scanners to run more often.
- Attachments & Links:
Be even more wary of zipped attachments, unusual file types, and Office documents with macros that scammers often use to install malware
- Don’t open emails from unknown/suspicious senders (especially if it’s from a Nigerian prince offering to transfer lots of money into your bank account)
- Don’t click on links unless you are certain of the source & sender
- Do not open attachments before scanning them to know if they are virus-free no matter who the sender is. Even your best friend could be unknowingly sending risky documents if his/her email/device is infected
- Be careful and selective with all documents, images, and videos you download from your email
- Public Wi-Fi Connections :
Limit the amount of sensitive data you use or input while connected to an unknown or public Wi-Fi network. Some programs “network sniffers” are used to monitor networks to analyze wireless data like passwords and usernames.
- Spam Filters :
While this seems like the basic obvious security measure, it is important to set up a good filter to avoid interacting with spam emails; a seemingly harmless “unsubscribe” on a spam email could expose you as it indicates to the spammer that the email address is still in use.
- Login Credentials:
Always make sure that “save my data”, “remember me” or “stay logged in” etc. options are never checked whenever you are using another person’s device, and that you log out after your session is completed. In case of doubt, remember to change your password afterward (yet again!)
- Phishing Attempts :
Phishing is a fraudulent attempt used by malicious users impersonating reputable companies by sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. It not only infect your device but also steal your personal information.
They usually include threats (i.e. Your account will be closed, your subscription has been cancelled, your life will never be the same), grammatical errors (i.e. You’re account will be clozed) and ask for personal or private information (i.e. Enter your credit card details to avoid losing your data).
Always check the sender, the domain, and the email as these are very powerful indicators. If you are in doubt and want to visit the website, do it manually and avoid clicking on suspicious emails at any cost!
Adopting these habits might require effort the first few times but they will soon become automatic reflexes! Staying safe and relying on our common sense is the only way to ensure that our email data stays private, safe and secure.
Stay tuned for more useful tips and tricks! Our Geeks are always ready to help you with your Tech, we are only a few clicks away!