What You Need To Know about Email Security

Last updated: January 22, 2024 Reading time: 5 minutes

Centuries ago, sending a letter or any form of communication would mean waiting for days (or even weeks) before you receive it. Fast forward today, all it takes is seconds, depending on your Internet speed – and you have to thank email for it.

Email is among the biggest achievements in the world of communication. In 2015, it was reported that an average business email sends and receives 122 emails every day. Despite its convenience, email is among cyber-criminals favorite because of weak cyber-security. If you are not too careful, you just might be hackers’ next target.

Can you prevent this? Of course!

Below are the things you need to know about email security to prevent yourself from losing data:

Start with the Basics

Employing email security tactics means taking it one step at a time. Before you learn about encryption, Unitrends backup solutions, and secured communication, you need to know and remember the basics when it comes to email security.

This includes:

  • Remember how to use email properly and wisely. Email is a great and convenient communication tool, but it is always susceptible to attacks. Therefore, know how to use email properly. Only click messages from known senders, avoid sending personal and crucial information about you such as credit card details, and install a firewall to keep your computer protected.
  • Know when there is a phishing attack. Phishing attacks are meant to steal your personal information such as credit card number, social security numbers, or bank accounts. Before you send yours, pay close attention to the message, how it was constructed, and the presence of a company logo. Email address must also be correctly spelled, so pay attention to this.
  • Install a firewall and an anti-virus software. Despite the convenience it brings, technology, including email messaging, comes with risks. These risks could come into play in situations you least expect it. Therefore, keep your computer protected at all times by having a firewall or an anti-virus software. This could be your first line of defense against cyber-attacks.
  • Don’t post your email address, especially when it is not necessary. Submitting your email address on every company or website that asks for it makes you susceptible to a cyber-attack. Keep it to yourself and share only when needed.

On keeping your information safe

At this point, it is already established that information sent through email is vulnerable. If you are not careful, you might be exposing not just your email account’s contents but also personal information.

Thankfully, it takes several tweaks and following email security practices to prevent yourself from being a target. You can:

  • Pick a strong password, which includes upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Make sure to change your password regularly, preferably every three to six months.
  • Avoid opening attachments from unfamiliar email addresses. This is still hackers’ popular way to circulate malware because many people fall for this.
  • Pay close attention to the spelling. Many victims of email scams opened emails or attachment from senders because the email address looks familiar. Look closely at the recipient’s address because omitting or adding one letter could make a difference. Take note that “Google” is different from “G0ogle.”
  • Clicking suspicious links is a big no-no. Links from unknown sources might lead you to websites that could inject malware into your computer.
  • Do not join unsecured WiFi. You want to update your Instagram stories immediately so you logged in to an available Wi-Fi connection. Unfortunately,

unsecured connections allow cybercriminals to access your computer system and eventually your accounts.

  • Appreciate encryption. Using encryptions when communicating online will help protect personal information from cyber-criminals. Encryption also protects not only your email while in transit but also the information sent from your computer.
  • Never send personal information via email, unless you absolutely have to. Take note that phishing works by encouraging users to send personal information under the guise of correspondence that makes it look like it came from a legitimate company. Again, pay attention to the spelling before you share information online.
  • Ensure That You Don’t Save Your Passwords Anywhere, Everyone is tempted to have a list or file containing all of their passwords in an easily accessible place. But what happens if someone else got access? The only time this is recommended is if you have the know how to create a secure excel sheet with password protection.

Maintain separate professional and Personal Emails

No, there is no thin line between personal and professional life. Although these two might intertwine at some point, you need to distinguish which acts are considered as personal and professional. Surprisingly, the majority of millennial workers think that it’s okay to check work email from home since they are doing their jobs.

Never do this. There are acts expected from you, especially when it comes to professional emails, which includes:

  • Always assume that your emails are monitored. This is for security purposes.
  • Don’t use personal email for work purposes. Regardless if you are answering emails or sending attachments, use your professional email. Keep in mind that employers monitor the traffic to and from your machine. Sending email messages using personal email could make companies suspicious since why do you have to use your own email for work, right?
  • Use a separate device for work emails. It may not be the most convenient arrangement, but this will prevent you from using your work emails for personal reasons.

Take note that these little steps could go a long way. Do them before it’s too late.

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About the Author

Zehra Ali is a Tech Reporter and Journalist. She has done her Masters in Mass Communication. Topics related to cybersecurity, IoT, AI, Big Data and other privacy matters are extensively covered by her on various platforms. You can follow her on twitter.

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