In the past week I’ve lost count of the instances of e-mail accounts being hacked. So much so I am adding this post to both this site and my Business E-mail Etiquette Web site BusinessEmailEtiquette.com.
From Hotmail to Gmail (100s of government accounts hacked by China ) brings to the surface the things an awareness of the issues everyone should carry out to do our best to secure our accounts.
The truth is if a hacker wants to get you — they will. And, we can decrease our risk by not having accounts on free services where access and security are out of our control to control. With a free service; you get what you pay for.
Here are some quick tips to help you secure your Business E-mail account:
- Create funky passwords. No pet names, no spouse names, no nicknames — nothing that is personally identifiable. Instead create passwords that are at least 8 characters in length that contain a combo of capital letters and lower case, numbers and special characters. Then, never write your password where eyes other than your own can view it. If you need to share your password with someone for any reason, immediately change that password when their access is no longer necessary or required.
- If you must use a free Web-based service make a point of clearing out your e-mail in and out boxes often. This way if your account gets compromised past e-mails that may contain sensitive information are not on hand for viewing by strangers.
- Register a domain (yourname.me for example) with your favorite domain registrar and use their e-mail services. Very inexpensive and easy to do! Then you are not relegated to what the free services are willing or able to do to protect your account for you.
- Do not click on any links in e-mails who you do not know the sender or were not expecting to receive. These links can send you to infected Web sites or engage SpyWare that can gather information off your computer or device. Double-check your virus software now to make sure you are up to date and that daily (minimally weekly) updates are on auto-pilot so your system can protect you from the latest known threats.
- Ignore the e-mails that seem to come from your provider stating you are over quota, need to upgrade, or any other reason that requires you reply with your UN and Password. No provider will ever ask you for that information via e-mail.
By noting the advice above, you can then be assured that you have minimized the risk of your account getting hacked and sensitive or personal information being exposed to those with nefarious motives. The onus is on you stay informed and educated so that you can protect your information.
The tips above are not a choice; they are part and parcel of participation.