We use our email address to log in to social media. We use it for making purchases on Amazon. We also use our email address to log in to our bank accounts. In our busy lives, there’s so many parts that are connected to our email.
What would you do though if a hacker was able to guess your email password? They would instantly be able to access all those critical parts of your life and wreak havoc before you even realized what happened. So, let’s talk about what can be done to lower you and your computer’s security risk.
No matter where you’re connected, follow these recommendations to avoid sharing your personal data or email password with the bad guys.
Use an encrypted session.
You can tell if you’re in an encrypted session if you see the lock symbol () at the top of your browser. Chrome currently marks all HTTP sites as ’not secure’ and users with version 68 or newer will see an extra warning in the address bar that the site is unsecure.
Turn on your computer’s firewall.
A computer firewall is what prevents hackers and malware from gaining access to your computer through a network or internet connection. This is not the same as antivirus or anti-malware. Windows 10 has an effective built in firewall and there are also third-party, paid and free firewalls that can be installed.
Use email and the internet with caution.
Before opening an email or click on links or attachments, consider the circumstances. Were you expecting an email from this sender? Is it from someone you know but it looks suspicious? Open the header details to see where it truly came from. Best practice is to not trust and open attachments you aren’t expecting. Our email hosting settings block 88 different types of attachments that are often used by hackers to trick users into downloading viruses and malware. That said, there's still malicious emails that can pass through email filters, so user caution is critical.
Computers should be consistently scanned for security risks. Installed software should be regularly scanned for vulnerabilities. Unpatched machines are more likely to have security gaps that can be exploited. Updates can be turned to automatically update on your computer to eliminate those security gaps.
Set strong passwords.
Our upgraded email hosting control panel now forces stronger password requirements. We require at least 7 characters in length with a mix of upper and lower case, numbers, and special characters. It’s also important that each user has a unique password. If a security vulnerability was exploited on one computer, would you want the hacker to instantly be able to access the rest of your users in the office?
Here at Pen Publishing, we focus so much of our energy on keeping ourselves and our clients safe from scams, hackers and hijackers. Are you unsure of an email you've received or have questions about computer and email security? Call us. We’re here to help.