Last Updated on March 18, 2021 by Staff Writer
Email or Electronic Mail is one way people exchange messages using a computer network, particularly the internet. There is potential data breach that can take place during the exchange and in this article, we look at ways to secure your emails.
Communication using email was developed in the 60s and over the years evolved to the current standard that uses SMTP, POP3 and IMAP email protocols.
Since communication using email takes mostly place via the internet, there is always a privacy and security risk involved.
Email security evolved to address this risk so that hackers cannot intercept your emails, whether during transit or at rest.
What email security involves
It involves any technique used to make sure that an email service is secure and involves:
- Spam filters
- Use of a strong password
- Password rotation
- Email encryption
- Antivirus applications
- Got no time? Our recommended solution for email encryption is Protonmail as it offers end-to-end encryption for emails.
Hackers often use email access to launch malicious attacks that include phishing attacks, spread of malware and spam.
Unfortunately, most businesses rely on emails to communicate and it means security measures have to be used to avoid costly breaches.
That is why we strongly advise against responding to suspicious emails that request for your personal information.
In addition, it is strongly not advisable to click links sent via emails as they may open malicious sites or result in installation of malware on your device.
How can you secure your emails?
There are several ways that ensure that your emails are 100% safe from hackers if you implement all these measures.
1. Use a secure email provider
There are popular email providers out there and most people are not aware of the risks involved while using them.
Fortunately, some email providers have taken further steps to ensure emails are sent or received securely.
End-to-end encryption is used to provide 100% privacy to messages in your inbox as you are the only one able to view them.
Other providers like Gmail and Yahoo scan messages to filter spam, detect illegal activity or for analytics.
Although this is essential, there is a security vulnerability that can be capitalized by hackers.
Protonmail offers FREE end-to-end email encryption to its users and one of the leading email providers worldwide.
All its servers are based in Switzerland, where there are strong privacy laws so all your data is protected.
No third parties have access to your emails as all messages are automatically encrypted.
When you want to create an email, no personal information is required and IP logs are not kept by Protonmail.
There is no need to install any software for you to start using Protomail and you can send emails to any other email provider with zero hassles.
The inbox is organized and user-friendly so it’s easy for you to migrate completely to ProtonMail.
Alternatively, you can use Protonmail for highly sensitive communication and reserve other less secure emails for other uses.
2. Use a strong password
A strong password is something we advocate for because using a weak password is very risky.
Hackers use sophisticated software that can break a weak password in a matter of seconds.
This means you need to stay two steps ahead of the bad guys by using a password manager.
This tool was designed to generate military-grade passwords and you don’t have to memorize anything.
All the login forms for your emails are automatically handled by the password manager and you can change the password anytime.
NordPass is a free password manager you can use to make sure your password is safe.
It uses the XChaCha20 encryption algorithm that encrypts data on your device, then back it in the cloud.
That way, not even NordPass can modify the encrypted data, a technique known as zero-knowledge architecture.
With NordPass, you can use 2-FA that works with authentication apps like Google Authenticator.
- Pro-tip: Don’t use SMS-based authentication as it can be intercepted by hackers using SIM-jacking.
If you need more features, you upgrade to a paid NordPass plan.
3. Disable automatic loading of remote content
Email services have a feature to enable remote loading of content like images, videos and stylesheets and this poses a privacy risk.
This content is not part of the message, but is downloaded from the internet as you view the email message.
However, with that feature the sender can know:
- What platform or application you are using to view the email
- Your IP address, hence geo-location
- That your email address is active
If your email provider doesn’t disable this feature by default, you need to go in your settings and disable loading of remote images.
4. Hide your email address
It is a good habit to hide your email address from the public.
There is software that harvests email addresses from websites and one way to counter this is by replacing “@” in your email with another character.
That way automated systems cannot recognize your email address and use it without your authority.
Cybercriminals populate these emails and use them for phishing attacks or for delivering spam to victims.
If a platform has an option to hide your email address after registration, make sure you switch it on.
In addition, make sure you have a main email address that is not shared publicly and a second one used for trivial purposes.
5. Use anonymous forwarding
If you are tired of spam or phishing emails, one way to counter this is to use anonymous email forwarding.
Nowadays, your privacy is more crucial than ever before and this means you need to access services online anonymously wherever possible.
With anonymous forwarding you do more than just set up a completely secret and nameless email address that has no link with you.
No-one can tell who sent the email thus any hacker who attempts to locate you hits a brick wall.
Here’s how it works…
For each service you sign up for, you create a different email address but any messages are sent to your actual inbox.
That way if you start to receive spam you can pinpoint the service provider that has leaked your email address and you block it easily.
In addition, you protect your actual email address by keeping it private.
Email security is a vital step to achieving internet safety and privacy.
If you don’t take the above steps to protect your email, you expose yourself to hackers as they can easily access your email.
These measures need to be implemented together with other tactics that we have discussed in other sections of the site.
A VPN is one of the important tools you need in your toolbox to successfully stay ahead of cybercriminals.
- Our top rated VPN services are as follows:
If you get the VPN via our links, the best deal is automatically applied.
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