How to Protect Your Email From Being Hacked
For most of us, email is our primary method of communication—especially at work. But even though we send very personal information, a lot of us don’t even think twice about how secure our emails actually are. And that is exactly what makes our inboxes prime targets for hackers. If they’re able to get access to our email, there’s no telling what other information they’ll be able to get their hands on.
Not to totally scare you. All hope is not lost. There are a few simple things you can do and keep in mind to protect your email. Keep reading and see for yourself.
How to keep your email secure
Email security is so critical, but just like locking your doors, there are small steps you can take to help keep your private information, well, private.
Use an encrypted email client
There is a lot baked into the word “encrypted.” But in its most basic form, it just means “locked.” Thankfully, for your emails, many email apps offer encryption. Apps like Outlook, Apple Mail, or Virtru use encrypted connections to your email server so no one can intercept them while they’re being uploaded or downloaded.
There are services that go a step further, like Virtru, and encrypt your actual inbox. So in the event your email does get hacked, the messages themselves would be unreadable because they’re encrypted.
Avoid checking your email on public WiFi
Public or unprotected internet networks are great. They allow us to stay connected when we’re not at home and don’t have cell service. But bad actors also know how much we rely on these networks. So, they become hotbeds of nefarious activity. And the worst part is this is all in public so there could be a ton of different people on the network. Making it nearly impossible to be able to tell who or if someone is behaving suspiciously.
Run software updates
The software on your computer or phone is always the first line of defense against hackers. They are constantly like for vulnerabilities in software to exploit, and manufacturers are consistently trying to patch those up before they’re discovered. If you keep your devices up-to-date, that puts you one step ahead of the bad guys—mostly.
How to send a secure email
Much like sending a regular letter, once you put it out into the world there’s not a lot you can protect it. But also like physical mail, you can package it more securely and take precautions before you send it to hopefully keep it safe on its journey.
Use VPN when checking your email
If you’re not able to use an encrypted email app, you can use VPN to securely connect to your email. VPN is a way to reroute your data connection so that it uses a different server elsewhere in the world, rather than your personal internet service provider. You can use ClearVPN to connect to an encrypted server if your email app doesn’t support it or the network you’re on blocks the secured connection.
Limit email forwarding
Once you send an email it’s basically at the mercy of whoever you send it to. If they decide someone else needs to see it, they can forward it on. Then, who knows where your email goes from there. Thankfully, there are a few apps, like Outlook that can disable forwarding. So, the email you send only goes to the person you sent it to and no one else.
For companies with larger concerns about internal privacy, they’ll also include a notice on all emails to reserve any legal rights if an email is forwarded.
How to protect email from hackers
Now that you know how to securely connect to your emails and safely send them, here are just a couple of general tips to protect you against hackers.
Use a password manager and 2-factor authentication
These are two tips in one. Using a password manager helps ensure the complexity of your passwords. In fact, it’s good to do not just for your emails but for all of your internet accounts.
The other thing is to make sure 2-factor authentication is turned on. That way, after you put in your password, you also have to confirm your identity with a code that’s texted to you or verified in another app like Google Authenticator.
Don’t click on suspicious links in your email
Phishing is the number one cause of email hacks. Phishing is when someone receives an email and they’re somehow tricked into providing their email address and password. You might be thinking, “This would never happen to me.” Well, it happens more often than you might think. And bad actors do this by pretending to be your email provider and sending a fake link for you to log into your email.
It’s a good habit to always check the URL before you enter your password. And verify that it’s coming from a legitimate email address.
Never post your email address publicly
You give out your email address to everyone. It’s not uncommon. But, you should try to avoid posting it on public social media sites or websites whenever possible. Bad actors can scan the internet looking specifically for email addresses and then will try to hack into them simply because they can. Avoid the risk if you can.
Email security is so crucial, but most people rarely put any additional thought into it. If you’re the type of person that lives by their inbox, it’s worth your time to put in some extra consideration. And even if you can’t take more steps to secure your email, if you can avoid sending personal and identifying information—that can even go a long way.