Whether it’s on our phones, tablets or desktops – we all can’t really function today without checking our emails on a regular basis. We work with our emails, we shop with them, we schedule tasks and appointments with them, and so much more.
However, we often take the privacy and security of our inboxes and emails for granted. Emails are often the prime targets for hackers to attack and where data breaches occur. It’s often the easiest way for us to be ‘tricked’ into giving personal and private information to people disguising themselves as someone they’re not. So how can we prevent this and secure our emails?
What is Email Security
Email security is how you or an organization goes about protecting email accounts. As mentioned, emails are often used to spread viruses, malware, spam and phishing attacks through ‘fake’ messages and email addresses that look very similar to ones that we communicate with on a daily basis.
However, these emails are from hackers that use deceptive messages to entice recipients to part with sensitive information, open attachments or click on hyperlinks that install malware on our devices. Therefore, we need to make sure that our email and inboxes are secure from such attacks, or at least able to try and prevent them.
So what are the email threats that we need to be aware of? Well, there are two main categories of threats.
When your inbox is targeted via email with a phishing scam, fraud or viruses. Phishing emails make up a large portion of inbox threats and you need to be vigilant when clicking on links that you receive and downloading files via email.
The spam folder does a good job of protecting you from such emails so make sure you are aware of emails that land in your spam box – they are there for a reason!
Transit threats are otherwise known as ‘man in the middle’ attacks (MitM). They are attacks whereby a third-party spies on information passing between two parties, often resulting in spear phishing attacks.
These types of attacks come in two forms. The traditional MitM attack is where an attacker targets your connection so that if you’re sending an email to say, a friend – they get it first. This type of attack means the attacker needs to close to the victim as these attacks rely on weak security in internet routers – another reason to scan public WiFi connections with WOT before connecting to them.
The second type of MitM attack is the ‘man in the browser’ attack where malware is installed to a user’s computer to gain access to private information.
How to Keep Your Email & Inbox Safe
With all this in mind however, we’re here to tell you there are ways to keep both your inbox and email safe. How? Read on to find out the best tips.
Open Emails From Safe Sources
When opening emails that arrive to your inbox, make sure you only open the emails from people you know, websites you trust and organizations that are legitimate. Why? Because if it seems strange that a certain person or company is sending you an email, it probably is. If you feel that a message is spam, report it and move on.
With this in mind, phishing emails often look very legitimate, therefore it is important to double check the sender email address and check the link before opening or downloading any attachments. This is because these links and attachments can contain viruses.
Additionally, if you use Gmail for your emails, it’s worth checking out and making sure you have Gmail protection and Gmail scanning. This will further help protect your inbox from threats as it helps to prevent unauthorized access to your account, provides extra protection from harmful downloads and keeps your personal information secure.
Check Apps, Links and Files
Following on from our first point, make sure you always check links, apps and files before downloading or installing anything to your device. You can do this with WOT. WOT enables users to check links in search engine results, on social media and in other popular sites to make sure you are only clicking on safe links. Through reputation icons that are displayed next to links you’ll get an indication as to whether WOT advises clicking on a specific link.
WOT’s reputation icons are calculated by combining advanced algorithms with millions of user reviews to make sure you have the safest browsing experience.
Protect Sensitive Information
Once you send an email, you no longer have control over what is done with it. It can be forwarded, published or anything in between. This is why it is very important to always make sure you avoid sending sensitive information via email.
This information includes any passwords, account details and/or numbers and personal details. Authorities and banks will never ask for personal information via email, therefore if you receive an email of this kind, it’s more than likely a phishing scam.
WOT can assist by warning you of potential phishing scams, malicious links and other websites that may be infected with malware. Click here to find out more.
Use A Spam Filter
A spam filter, that most email providers have, will help keep spam and dangerous emails out of your inbox. By making sure you use a spam filter, you’ll stay safe and avoid tons of junk emails that could have links that could infect your device.
Additionally, if you do open your spam folder, it’s vital that you remember to never click on the links inside such emails. Reply, clicking or even unsubscribing from scam emails will only further inform the sender that the email address is ‘active’ and in use and they’ll just keep sending more emails. Report the email, don’t click or download anything and mark it as spam.
Scan WiFi Networks
When connecting to public WiFi networks, you don’t know how secure it is. With WOT Premium, you’ll be able to scan the networks before connecting to make sure you are safe to browse the web.
Without doing this, when connecting to a public network, you increase your chances of being targeted by hackers and having private information stolen from you.
Apply Strong Passwords
Make sure you keep your passwords strong and secure. It’s always recommended to change your passwords regularly to make sure your accounts are secure.
Remember to use a mix of upper and lower case letters, include numbers and special characters where applicable to make the password harder to crack. If a password is easy to guess for example, something or someone relevant to you, or a memorable date – it’s easier for hackers to guess. Keep your passwords to yourself and never share them with anyone.
Overall, email and inbox security is becoming more and more important with hackers getting better at targeting unsecure networks and people with less knowledge regarding how to protect themselves. Make sure you have the safest browsing experience and keep on top of your online security with WOT.