Email Security Basics

Email Security Basics

Email is a modern classic as far as business solutions are concerned, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an office that didn’t use it in some capacity or another. However, because email is so popular, it has become a favorite attack vector of malicious users. Fortunately, there are some basic practices that will help keep your email account secure and your communications private.

Follow Password Guidelines
As you might imagine, one of the most important, basic ways that you can lock down your email account is to ensure that your password is sufficiently strong. Too often, breach statistics (and similar data sets) reveal that passwords are still overwhelmingly insecure. Pet names, birthdays and anniversaries, and favorite sports teams are used as passwords far more than they should be, as are common keyboard patterns, like qwerty, asdf, and the like. Some minimal social engineering could very easily provide someone with access to an email account they have no business being in.

To counter this, avoid the temptation to resort to formulaic, easy-to-guess password systems - like, for instance, smushing your alma mater’s mascot together with the number of your childhood home. Again, these password conventions are the first things that a cybercriminal will try if they want to get into your email account. Instead, do your best to rely on an as-random-as-possible string of numbers and letters - creating a different one for each of your accounts. This will ensure that your passwords are as strong as possible with the added benefit of protecting the rest of your accounts if one of your passwords is discovered.

Of course, for the sake of pragmatism, is it totally realistic to remember a completely random string of alphanumeric characters for everything that requires a password? For many, it isn’t. That’s why many resort to using, rather than a password, a passphrase. A passphrase takes a sentence memorable to the individual and turns it into a mnemonic device. So, a fan of films by Rob Reiner could take a line from one of his works and create a password from it, like “uRdBS” or “HFSTC” from The Princess Bride, or “UCHTT” from A Few Good Men.

Avoid the Unknown
Once you’ve accessed your email, there are a few ways that you can avoid putting yourself at risk. One very important way is to avoid the links in email unless you have verified that they do, in fact, go to (and come from) where they appear to.

First, where will the included link direct you? Links can be tricky things, which makes them a favorite of cybercriminals to use in emails. If the link is attached to text, you should hover over it and peek at the status bar that pops up before clicking on it. While the text might say that it brings you to the sender’s official webpage, the link could very well actually direct you to a domain that uploads a virus into your system. If the status bar says that you will be directed to someplace that doesn’t look quite right, skip the link.

You also shouldn’t blindly open an email that hasn’t come from a known or verified source, and even that can now be dangerous. There is a tactic that can be used to great effect as a way to snare even the most cybersecurity-mindful targets called email spoofing. As its name suggests, email spoofing is the act of forging an email’s header so that it appears to have come from someone else, likely someone trusted enough that the email will be opened, read, and interacted with.

As a result, it is best to verify the email with the cited sender whenever possible, through a different means of communication. Whether that means a quick phone call or instant message before you open the email, it is better to be safe than it is to be sorry.

What are some other ways that you keep your email from becoming a security risk? Share them in the comments, and make sure you take a moment and subscribe to this blog!

Tech Term: Bandwidth Defined
3 Industries that Smart Technology is Revolutioniz...


Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Mobile? Grab this Article!

Qr Code

Tag Cloud

Security Tip of the Week Best Practices Technology Cloud Email Hackers Privacy Malware Business Internet Business Computing Microsoft Hosted Solutions Computer Software Windows 10 Network Security Ransomware Google Backup Mobile Devices Smartphone IT Services User Tips Android Hardware Small Business Data Management Gmail Windows Productivity Tech Term Browser Managed IT Services Saving Money Cloud Computing Internet of Things App Data Facebook Business Continuity Server Phishing Disaster Recovery Smartphones Word Managed Service Provider Cybersecurity Efficiency Data Recovery Business Management Encryption IT Support Artificial Intelligence Remote Monitoring Office 365 Upgrade Social Media Data Backup Workplace Tips Tip of the week IT Support Government Office Tips Infrastructure Chrome Outsourced IT Microsoft Office Big Data Productivity Spam Windows 10 Innovation Risk Management Vulnerability Antivirus VoIP Apple Employer-Employee Relationship Firewall Analytics Data storage Customer Service Passwords WiFi Avoiding Downtime Settings Applications Robot Money Two-factor Authentication The Internet of Things Managed IT Services Content Filtering IT Management Bandwidth YouTube communications Miscellaneous Communication IBM Scam Mouse Vendor Management Paperless Office Wireless Save Money Tablet Apps LiFi Administration SaaS Customer Relationship Management Storage Hacking Wi-Fi Unified Threat Management VPN Holiday Data Security Augmented Reality HIPAA Data loss Business Technology Virtual Private Network Safety Presentation Outlook Network Hacker Monitors BYOD Office Server Management Printing Mobile Security Wireless Technology Hosted Solution Recovery Automation End of Support Telephone Systems Maintenance Computing Mobile Device Website Password Google Drive Search Virtual Reality Bluetooth Bitcoin Network Congestion Dark Web Nanotechnology Hard Drives Staff Optimization Automobile Best Practice telephony Experience Cyber Monday Unified Communications Social Networking Corporate Profile Information Technology Language USB Solid State Drive Mobile Device Management Writing Running Cable Blockchain Cost Management VoIP Google Docs Google Calendar Chatbots User Windows 8 Computers Net Neutrality Screen Reader How To Refrigeration Networking Printer Virtual Desktop Wearable Technology Recycling Business Growth Smart Technology Motherboard Remote Computing WannaCry Google Wallet Buisness Computing Infrastructure Dongle IT service Heating/Cooling Public Speaking Hard Disk Drive Current Events Lithium-ion battery Retail Laptop Permissions Assessment Time Management Competition Legislation IT solutions Identity Cabling Display FCC Smart Tech Firefox Legal Access Control eWaste Alt Codes Dark Data Distributed Denial of Service Router Drones 5G Alerts Service Level Agreement Digital Payment BDR Servers Chromebook Going Green Social Engineering Halloween Fraud Internet Exlporer Politics Network Management Cortana Comparison Cables Managed IT Social Title II Connectivity Undo Techology Fun SharePoint Continuity Collaboration Typing Managed IT Service Modem Marketing Digital Lenovo Downtime Licensing Smart Office Google Maps Compliance Wires Gadgets Application Mail Merge Scary Stories Value Tech Support Document Management Touchscreen Deep Learning Humor Specifications Disaster Shortcut Hacks IP Address Cybercrime Online IoT Computer Care Virtualization Unified Threat Management Operating System Downloads IT Technicians Solar File Sharing Cryptocurrency Break Fix Cookies Samsung Spyware Superfish Budget Cooperation Work Statistics Knowledge Black Friday Regulations Voice over Internet Protocol Users Address How To Sports Hotspot Professional Services Websites Identity Theft Bring Your Own Device sip Uninterrupted Power Supply Patch Management Mobile Office Microsoft Excel Star Wars Training Quick Tips User Error Multi-Factor Security Education Mirgation Business Intelligence Notifications G Suite CrashOverride FinTech Twitter Botnet Supercomputer Domains Mobile Computing Gadget Staffing Company Culture Motion Sickness Crowdsourcing Taxes Physical Security Personal Information Administrator Web Server Emergency Upgrades Machine Learning IT Budget GPS Managing Stress Update IT Consultant Computer Repair Processors Cameras 3D Printing Relocation Meetings Tracking Cleaning Health Alert CCTV Unsupported Software Private Cloud Emoji Webcam Work/Life Balance Electronic Medical Records Mobile Data Error Black Market Point of Sale Law Enforcement Travel