How To Ensure Your Email Account Is Safe

It’s arguably a hacker’s number one goal, to gain access to your email account. For a cybercriminal, it is honestly a treasure trove of sensitive information.

After all, email is still the most common form of syndicating information across the web.

Take a second and think about what important information you have sitting in your email inbox.

For those of you who feel that this doesn’t apply to them, we’d recommend typing your email address, here.

Currently, HaveIBeenPwned website estimates over 9,5 billion email accounts have been compromised.

These breaches have allowed hackers to compile sensitive data that can be used to gain access to important accounts.

It should go without saying, your email account also has sensitive information about your clients and business partners.

Data loss is a major international problem that South Africa is definitely not immune from.

If you’re looking at making your email account super secure, here are some tips to ensure you are following email security best practices.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

We’ve all had the notification to link a second device to provide a two-factor authentication (2FA) for your account. This can be via a SMS, a second email account, or by biometrics (thumbprint).

2FA is the modern cornerstone of securing your account, as well as web security.

It is a sure-fire way of ensuring that if your email is compromised, criminals can’t access the full-functionality (of the account) and change important information.

An example of what hackers can do is access other folders on your corporate cloud storage platforms, share corporate information, even change your email password, and lock you out.

If your email is hosted on a server by a provider without 2FA we’d recommend closing it down.

Take Creating Passwords Seriously

There’s nothing more annoying than coming up with, and remembering, new passwords, but it is necessary.

A tactic that almost every hacker uses when gaining access to an email account is called ‘credential stuffing’. Credential Stuffing is when they reuse passwords in all your accounts.

If you’re unsure if you are using a strong password/s you can use this tool to test them.

We’d recommend using a password manager that has 2FA, and that you take the time to redo all your passwords. This does require a fair bit of admin. But we can guarantee it is worth it if you are concerned about data protection.

Don’t Click Suspicious Links

If you receive an email instructing you to click a link to access important information, don’t. This also goes for SMSs on your phone.

One of the easiest ways for a hacker to access your email account and personal information on your computer or device, is being able to run a malware program.

As a rule of thumb, never click a link before checking the sender’s website, or even phoning them to check it is an authentic link.

If you are concerned that employees, or colleagues, of yours will be tempted to click email attachments, maybe enroll them in some cybersecurity awareness training.

If you suspect there’s been a data breach, we’d recommend getting hold of an incident response team who will act on it in real time.

Make Sure Your Email Is Encrypted

While it might be difficult to get everyone on board, especially when you have a large mailing list, we cannot stress how important it is to ensure your emails are encrypted.

This will make it nearly impossible to break into your server.

Just by switching to an encrypted email, you’ve ruled out the majority of cyberattacks, email threats, and your business email being compromised.

Old School Theft And Devices

It might seem like a surprise, but we’d encourage you to make sure that all devices are password protected or require biometric access.

A common access point for potential hackers into your email account is via your device when it is stolen. After all, it’s as simple as opening up an app and hey presto, they have access to all your information.

In conclusion, if you suspect your account has been hacked, we recommend closing all accounts and freezing bank accounts via the phone.

Then when you are ready, book a consultation with the experts.