Do you worry that sooner or later your e-mail account is going to be hacked? The hacking of an e-mail account can be a serious affair because lots of sensitive information is shared by e-mail these days. Most of the banks use your e-mail ID as validation. There are many online services for which you might be paying lots of money and the services use your e-mail ID for various types of communications and transactions. Whenever you forget your bank password or the password of any of the online services that you use, the password reset link is sent to your e-mail ID. So you can very well understand what havoc a person can wreck once he has got hold of your e-mail account.
How can you keep your e-mail account safe? How do you make sure that it is not hacked?
Frankly there is no foolproof method for protecting your e-mail account – if there is a hacker who has lots of experience hacking other people’s e-mail accounts, he or she can get access to your e-mail if he or she tries hard. Nonetheless, most of the hacking takes place due to the vulnerabilities on the side of the e-mail account owner rather than due to the capabilities of the hacker. In more than 90% of the cases, you can avoid being hacked by taking care of the following:
Create a strong, difficult-to-crack password for your e-mail account
If you use the name of someone in your family, or your favorite hero’s name, or your lover’s name, or any other conceivable name, it becomes very easy to hack your e-mail account. All a hacker needs to do is run a program with a dictionary of all possible names. The same goes with date of birth, company initials, anniversary dates and so on. While creating a password make sure that it is at least 8 characters long, has at least one alphanumeric uppercase character and at least one alphanumeric lowercase character. It should also have at least one wildcard character such as $, @, #, %, *, and so on. You may also like to read How to create a strong password and remember it.
Change your password often
The older your password is, the greater are the chances of it getting into the wrong hands. It may seem like a nag, but it makes sense to change your e-mail account password at least once every six months. It’s worth the effort once you realize the ramifications of your e-mail account being hacked. You may also like to read How to change your Gmail account password.
Don’t use the same password for multiple e-mail accounts
There might be many reasons why you have multiple e-mail accounts. Don’t have the same password for every e-mail account. This is because once a single e-mail account is hacked, consider all your accounts hacked.
Don’t remain signed into your e-mail account, especially Gmail
You may require to be signed into your Gmail account due to the various apps Google services you might be using. If that is the case, create a second e-mail account just for the purpose of using Google services and use your other account for your communication and exchange of sensitive information. This way you won’t have to remain signed in while surfing the net.
Avoid checking your e-mail using public Wi-Fi access
We perpetually have our mobile devices with us, including laptops, Tablet PCs and Internet-ready smartphones. Whenever there is Wi-Fi access, we want to check our e-mails. Avoid doing that because public Wi-Fi systems – simply because they are public and hence open and hence prone to exploitation – can be easily used to intercept your data and obtain your password.
Use a reputable e-mail service
Getting an e-mail account is perhaps one of the easiest things to do on the Internet. Therefore they are also the most vulnerable. Don’t use just any e-mail service. If possible, also avoid using an e-mail ID of your own domain name (something like firstname.lastname@example.org) unless you really know what you are doing. A custom e-mail account will be hosted most probably by your web host and considering how everybody wants to go for cheap web hosting you never know what security measures they are taking. Even if you want to have a custom e-mail ID, use an e-mail service that specifically provides such services, such as Google apps. Otherwise, considering you take all the precautions mentioned above, Gmail is the most secure e-mail service right now.