A Word On Email Security

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There’s a topic floating around about passwords and their security not being top notch, but, alas, Google pays attention.  What is their response? A 2-Step Verification option.

What’s the big deal about this?

“2-Step Verification option adds an extra layer of security to your Google Apps account by requiring you to enter a verification code in addition to your username and password when logging in to your account.” (via)

After we found this out, we thought sharing some email security tips would be valuable. Some of these are obvious, others may not be. Hopefully all will be a little useful for you:

1. Be careful when opening attachments and downloading files from friends and family or accepting unknown e-mails.

You can obtain a virus or worm simply by opening e-mail and attachments, and by accepting files from others. If you choose to download files, make sure your security software is enabled and pay close attention to any warnings provided.

2. Watch out for phishing scams.

Phishing scams use fraudulent e-mails and fake Web sites, seeming like legitimate businesses, to lure users into revealing private account or login information. To be safe, if you receive an e-mail from a business that includes a link to a Web site, make certain that the web site you visit is legitimate. Also, instead of clicking to the web site from within your e-mail, open a separate Web browser and visit the business’ web site directly to perform the necessary actions. 

3. Use e-mail wisely.

E-mail is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, and works wonders as a tool to conduct business. Even if you have good security software on your computer, your friends and family may not have the same protection. Be careful about what information you submit via e-mail. Never send your credit-card information, Social Security number, or other private information via e-mail.

4. Do not reply to spam e-mail.

If you don’t recognize the sender, don’t respond. Even replying to spam mail to unsubscribe could set you up for more spam, which we all find super annoying.

5. Creating smart and strong passwords.

Make it difficult for hackers to crack your password. You can create a smart password by incorporating capital letters, numbers, special characters and using more than six characters. Get creative! But also remember to write it down somewhere safe in case its complexity slips your mind. That has happened to me a couple of times and I learned my lesson.

6. Be careful with public Wi-Fi.

Sometimes public Wi-Fi can be extremely insecure. There are programs out there called “network sniffers” that run passively in the background of some hacker’s device. The sniffer monitors all of the wireless data flowing through a particular network – and that data can be analyzed for important information. Like your username and password.

Safe online practices are important for keeping your online identity free from viruses, hackers, and all sorts of Internet-based shenanigans. And the best place to start? Your inbox.

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