How Can I Secure My Free E-Mail Accounts?
Updated: May 7
In the past several months, I've lost count of the instances of people who have called the offices of Integral stating that their e-mail has been hacked. The truth is if people would take a more proactive approach to protecting their e-mail, they could prevent email hacks. You can always decrease your risk by not having accounts on free services where access and security are out of your control. However, free is within everyone's budget so I am going to share with you some quick tips to help you secure your 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.
Clean it Up. 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.
Beware Public Computers. If you check your email on a public computer in a library or Internet café, be absolutely sure you've logged out before leaving. Even then, you might be leaving behind traces that could give the next user too much information about you.
Don't Click on it. 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 viruses 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.
Don't Be Fooled. Your email provider or bank has sent you notification of a security breach, with a link to reset your password. Don't click that link! It's almost certainly a fraud, designed to steal your email account password. If you have any doubts, navigate to the email provider's site directly and double-check.
Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at email@example.com