Electronic mail has been a dependable method to send and receive electronic letters with lightning speed. All you need to have is an email address to walk through the process. It is your email box, which stores these emails. But your inbox doesn’t know what mail it is storing, i.e., whether the mail contains a malicious attachment or a spam link.
So your email service needs to be protected from various intruders. As mentioned, the service is vulnerable to email spam that may have a virus, malware-ridden attachments, as well as denial-of-service attacks. The intruder can even get access to your data by email. Hence, it is essential to secure your emails. But how? The only answer to this query is- Email Security.
Email security describes various techniques that keep users' data and account secure against unauthorized access, loss, or compromise. These are various cybersecurity measures that protect sensitive information in email communications and secure the access and content of an email account.
Best Security Measures to Secure Your Email:
With the help of these measures, a user can prevent phishing attacks, spear-phishing, and email spoofing and finally protects himself against unauthorized access, loss or compromise. Multiple security measures can be taken to ensure email security. The best among them are discussed as below:
Use Strong Passwords:
Maximum people use easy-to-remember passwords irrespective of what’s bad for privacy. If you have a simple password for your email account, then a hacker can easily access your account, which you do not want.
Therefore many servers demand strong passwords which include at least eight characters, including upper and lowercase letters, one number, or one special character. Here are some tips for Strong Passwords:
- Choose words that do not have any meaning.
- After every 4 or 8 months, it is better to change your password. You can set a reminder.
- Use smiley notations in your password along with the special characters.
Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):
You should add an extra security question or pin whenever you log in to your account. This will increase your security and make it harder for a hacker to gain access to your account. When you are working remotely or on a personal device, you should use VPN software to access corporate email.
However, while choosing the security query, make sure you’re not setting any question which can be easily answered just by going through your social media profile.
Avoid Logging In to Free Wi-Fi & Third-Party Apps:
Free Wi-Fi can be harmful to your privacy. An attacker can easily gain access to other devices from free Wi-Fi. If you and a hacker are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and you log in to your email account, then he can easily access your account straightaway. Therefore avoid using free Wi-Fi and do not log in to your email unless it is really important to you.
Also, you must avoid installing apps from third-party sites on your computer or another device. They are often infected with malware, and hence it is suggested to be the only download from trusted sources. You must always regularly update them.
Use Paid Services and Avoid the Free Ones:
If you are running a business account and your account holds a lot of sensitive information, then it is a must to opt for professional and paid services, for example, G-Suite email services. These services have priority support and better security features. Alongside that, if you’re using a free VPN to send or receive emails, do consider replacing it with a paid one.
Share as Minimum Data as Possible:
One of the best ways to remain secure all the time is to be aware of all the risks and ways hackers might try to get access to your email. This is possible only when you are aware of all the vulnerabilities and stop sharing unnecessary data.
You must be careful what you share online. Don’t submit your credentials until you find the email genuine. Also, use a spare email address to sign up for the things that you need to access one time.
Check the original sender and help the provider:
You should not click on it if you are unsure about a link from an email. The link might lead to a site that would install malicious software to your device. Also, check for the sender if you find an email a bit irrelevant.
You can find the actual sender by hovering the mouse cursor over the “From” to see the email address and not the name of the sender. You can also avoid sharing your email address that has your private information in public places.
You must report the provider on finding spam or junk in your email. It helps your provider to filter the emails better in the future, and hence harmful emails will never manage to reach the inbox.
Use SSL- Secure Sockets Layer or TLS -Transport Layer Security:
When you use SSL and TLS for sending emails, they ensure that your emails are being sent securely between your computer and your SMTP service. On receiving your mail, Your SMTP- Simple Mail Transfer Protocol service should also properly encrypt emails between itself and the recipient’s mail server.
To ensure the proper encryption, SMTP must use the latest version of TLS. This requires the recipient’s mail server to support SSL/TLS while SMTP2GO always encrypts emails whenever technically possible.
Use encryption methods to protect the emails that you sent. It is a technique by which you can protect the content of the message with the help of encryption protocol. You must utilize email encryption features to protect both your email content and attachments.
The messages can be encrypted while being in transit or at rest. Some services even make it possible to see the mail only when the recipient has a security authentication code. Microsoft users can achieve encryption of the message by the following process:
- First, Click on the Security Settings button
- Then select the encrypt option in the Security Properties dialogue box
Note: This will encrypt message contents and attachments.
- Click on the OK option and finally close the Message Options dialogue box.
You can now compose your message and send it in encrypted form. If you choose to encrypt all outgoing messages, your email will be encrypted by default.
Why do I need to secure my email account?
Email is a popular medium for the spread of phishing attacks. By using deceptive messages to entice recipients and divulge sensitive information, the intruder attracts the recipient to open attachments or click on hyperlinks in the email that ultimately installs malware on the recipient’s device.
It has become a common entry for attackers that are looking to gain a foothold in an enterprise network and want to breach valuable data of an enterprise. Hence email security is important both for individuals and organizations.
The account must be secured against common attacks as well as attempts at unauthorized access to accounts or communications. Phishing emails sent to employees often contain malware attachments or include destructive hyperlinks that lead to websites that serve malware.
- The mails are designed in a way that they like legitimate documents that attract the user to open them. When the user opens an email attachment or clicks on such a link in an email, the email account or the user's device gets compromised.
- Phishing emails can also be used to trick the recipients into sharing their sensitive information, often by pretending to be legitimate business contacts. These attacks often target departments that handle sensitive personal or financial information.
- Phishing emails will ask recipients about their private information like login details, passwords, bank account numbers, credit card information, and much more. Some even link to counterfeit websites that look exactly like that of a reputable one.
The email system has become an indispensable part of this digital era. From elevating the mode of communication to sharing important attachments (files, media, etc.), email offers a lot to occupy a huge space of your professional life. Although the medium offers a great number of benefits, it is vulnerable to many online threats.
Yes, email has become common to send malware to the recipient that can compromise your system. Thus, it becomes essential to secure an email account. You can choose any of the above-discussed techniques to protect yourself from online threats. That’s all!
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