If you, like many others, have been confined to work from home over the past year, it’s likely that you’ve been glued to your email. A large portion of our written professional correspondence is conducted through email, so it’s no surprise that it’s also one of the most vulnerable types of communications when it comes to data breaches. That’s why it’s incredibly important for you to ensure that you take every precaution you can to protect your privacy. Here are our picks for some of the easiest ways you can get started today:
Use a Strong Password
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a key first step. If your email password is simple and easy to guess, then you need to change it immediately. There’s definitely a temptation to create a simple password that’s easy to remember, but doing so can present a potential security risk. When setting a password, it’s important to include the following characters:
- A mix of capital and lowercase letters
- Special characters (!, $, &)
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Another key security feature you should consider is enabling multi-factor authentication, just so long as your email provider has the capability. This can be something as simple as adding your phone number to your account as an alternate way to verify that a particular login attempt was indeed from you, and not from a hacker.
Never Open Sensitive Emails on Public Wifi
This may sound paranoid, but trust us, it’s not. Public wifi is particularly insecure, especially at airports and stores. That’s why you should never open your email, particularly messages that contain personal or sensitive information in them, when you’re using a public wifi network. It’s important to only check your email when working on a secure network, such as your home wifi. As an added bonus, you might also consider using a VPN when checking emails, regardless of whether or not you’re in public.
Never Click “Unsubscribe” on a Suspicious Email
Some spam emails are very cleverly disguised. Others, not so much. If you’ve received a suspicious email, you might think that you’ve inadvertently signed up to an email list that you need to unsubscribe from. You might want to think twice before doing so, however. In many cases, the ‘unsubscribe’ link in these emails can send you to a site that may try to phish some more personal details from you. Instead of unsubscribing, click or tap ‘mark as spam.’ This is a safer way to cut off communication with these emails.
Secure Your Email Attachments
When sending any sort of attachment (especially if it contains personal information), it’s important to make sure that it’s secure. If your email is somehow compromised, you’ll want to make sure that your attachments are safe. If, for example, you’re sending a PDF file, you might consider adding a password to it. You should also consider using a file sharing service that enables end-to-end encryption as an added security measure.
Keep checking in with the ScoresMatter Blog for more tips!