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Four ways to secure your email without spending a dime

See four (4) practical ways to protect your email and keep it secure without spending any extra money on third-party apps.

Nearly every activity you perform online is linked to your email account, and if a bad actor compromises it, they gain access to a whole lot than just your information. You could even put your loved ones and employers at risk. For this reason, I have collected four security tips that will protect your email:

1. Strong, unique password

While it may sound cliché, this advice remains valuable. Hackers have the help of software that can come up with nearly 2,000 words in your local language in a matter of minutes, which makes it essential to mix up your email password with numbers, symbols, and sentence cases. Several platforms have a ‘generate password’ tool to help you, and you can also get free apps that generate and save new passwords for you.

2. Two-factor authentication

What if a bad actor cracks your password? Well, enabling two-factor authentication adds another layer of protection to your email. With two-factor authentication in place, you get an authentication code sent to either your phone number or a mobile authenticator after entering your secret password. Thus, if a hacker does not have your mobile device, they would have just cracked your password in vain.

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3. Encrypt messages

Although several chat platforms now provide encryptions, you may need to get encryption services from a third-party app. Otherwise, if a group of seasoned hackers has set sight on you or your correspondence, they could intercept it and read it. ProtonMail, Tutanota, and StartMail are the most famous encryption services in the world at this time. Only the intended receiver will get it when you use them to send emails. Unauthorised readers would not be able to open such emails. In addition to this, some of these services provide aliases that help protect your actual email address. Otherwise, you may be a target of phishing when all else has failed. Note that you may be required to pay for these additional services.

4. Avoid phishing emails

As mentioned above, phishing is sometimes the last resort to compromising your email. However, this does not make it any less dangerous. In fact, Norton, a cybersecurity firm, lists phishing as the most successful scam format. Why? Phishing emails look like they are coming from a legitimate source, often a service you use. The aim is to make you click on an embedded link in the message, which takes you to a fake site. This phony site may also be designed like a legit website you have used before. The end goal is to either capture sensitive details like your login details, private information, or credit card info. To avoid phishing emails, look out for grammar and spelling errors. Also, if the email comes from an address with numbers after the ‘legit’ name, it may be fake. The bottom line is that when you receive an email that should be from a trusted source but looks different from what you are used to, avoid it. In addition, Gmail allows you to mark phishing and spam emails to prevent them from showing up in your inbox again.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.