5 easy techniques to secure your email

email security
Photo: Master1305, Bigstock

When it comes to hackers, email is one of the most prime domains to illegally tapping into and accessing sensitive information. Many accounts and passwords are stored on email, leaving everyone from individual citizens to large conglomerates vulnerable to an attack.

So what then constitutes safe practice where you can go about your business without fearing the worst? Email security is an evolving industry whereby extensive software programs can be purchased, but there are simpler means of tackling this challenge.

Here are a few easy techniques to protecting your email.

Avoid public Wi-Fi where possible

At any time in any public area, there could be a network sniffer around the corner. These shadowy trolls exploit the vulnerability of smartphone, tablet and laptop users who access public Wi-Fi, tapping into the traffic that engages with the central hub.

Unless the matter is pressing whereby another device cannot be used or a phone’s hotspot is not available, then public Wi-Fi should be viewed as a last resort.

Get password creative

The easiest trick in the book still remains true to this day. Changing your password with regularity will leave hackers out of the loop as you hold the cards close to the chest. It is worthwhile shifting to terms and combinations that are not in rotation or follow a similar trend to other accounts online.

Changing your password is not a groundbreaking suggestion, but given what is at stake and given its success rate, it is well worth repeating. Emails that maintain the same password for months or years on end are prime candidates for a hack.

Double check the dubious link

Unless an email has arrived in your inbox from a well-known and trusted source, then consider anything else sent dubious. This especially counts for emails that contain links in them, with hackers using the phishing technique to lure unsuspecting users to clicking on a hyperlink before sending them to a dangerous landing page full of viruses.

These online pirates will often disguise themselves as a bank, government agency or telco. It is always advised to visit those official sites and talk to a real person because these organisations will rarely rely on you following through on an email link.

Request external line to sensitive information

It does not matter if you are concerned about your personal or professional email for security purposes, it is best practice to avoid sending or even storing sensitive information on this platform. Emails these days will have backup modes of storage as well such as Google Drive, opening up more avenues to be penetrated.

Consider encrypted domains like WhatsApp when communicating with confidential information that could leave you vulnerable if exposed to the wrong party.

Be malware savvy

A blanket rule across all online activity is that you can never be too careful. Should anything occur on your email activity that you feel might be suspicious, run a standard virus/malware scanner through your computer to gauge any bugs in the system.

More times than not it will be a false alarm, but on that rare occasion some hacker has infiltrated your system, you will have wished that a program was protecting your data.

The general through-line with everyone of these hacks comes down to the idea that you could be monitored by anyone at anytime. That can drive people into states of great paranoia, but if you follow these prompts correctly and thoroughly, then you are well placed to avoid the pitfalls.

In a professional setting with the company email, this essentially is an extension of the organisation’s property. Treat it with the utmost of care at all times.