Keeping your personal email safe

It’s common these days for emails and social media platforms to be hacked. You are either a victim or a witness. Currently, most of our social media profiles are linked to our personal emails. These are tips most of us are well aware of, but of course, like we all do we fail to put knowledge to action unless something negative happens.

Before going further, I will cite a few scenarios to paint the picture of the implications of failing to keep good personal email practices.

Imagine your email account has been hacked and emails are being forwarded to your contacts without your knowledge. Good for you, if it’s promptly brought to your notice for it to be rectified. It usually just requires a password change. I stand to be corrected by the technology experts. On a daily basis I receive emails from people on my contacts lists with links to pages one won’t usually visit under any circumstances such as links to sites advertising sex enhancing drugs, among other things. So imagine you have potential employers or respectable people you look up to as part of your contacts and they keep receiving such unsolicited emails from you. It can be embarrassing and It doesn’t paint a good picture of you. Annoyingly such emails can keep resending themselves. You might end up enduring the embarrassing process of apologising to everyone.

The common one these days is on Facebook where profane links, pictures and even videos are posted on people’s walls without your knowledge till they are alerted. If your privacy settings is set to public, it would unfortunately be seen by a lot of people. Remember that first impressions can count.

If we manage our personal emails a bit like we do with our office mails it should reduce the potential to be hacked and the occurrence of such incidences. Hackers are terribly smart so this might not be a 100% answer to your problems.

Personal tips to observe

1. Passwords

Change it periodically or at a maximum every 3 months. It doesn’t have to be fixed but make it a point to change it periodically. Don’t be like those who keep the same password for years. It’s a bad habit. We all hate it when we have to keep these to memory especially in this fast paced world where we can keep our lives simple with technology.

Password Credits: freeimages.com
Password
Credits: freeimages.com

Passwords shouldn’t be obvious like your name, hometown etc.  They should make sense to you but not to an outsider. Include symbols and numbers to make it strong and difficult to guess.

Password clues shouldn’t be obvious to be figured out by anyone, other than by yourself’

Don’t write your passwords out or save them on your phone. The temptation is very strong. If you want to note it somewhere don’t write out all the details just a bit of clues should do. Of course the clues shouldn’t be obvious to be figured out by anyone, other than yourself.

2. Inbox and Spam
Never click or read any email with links from an unknown sender. It just might be the key or the door that opens to bring in all the malicious ware and viruses.

Never click on a link from your contact if you have second thoughts. If unsure give the person a call first to confirm before proceeding.

3. Always logout of your account. Never logout just by closing the browser.

4. Don’t allow your browser to remember your password. You never know who might gain access to your phone or computer. Always uncheck the box to prevent this..

5. Two-factor authentication. Always enable two-factor authentication to receive any alerts should someone access your account.

Its annoying to have to remember all these passwords from bank accounts, emails, social media pages etc but remember its worth it, considering the potential implications.

How do you maintain the safety of your personal emails? Share with us your experiences if your personal mail has been hacked before.

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