How long does it take for you to check your email? For most people, the process takes under a minute, as their email accounts are set up on their phones, laptops, and web browsers.
Unfortunately, this complacency with a daily routine often gets in the way of making changes: changes that can positively impact the safety and privacy of their accounts.
This article will look at some key steps you can make to protect email privacy without a substantial investment of time and effort.
1. Look for Encryption
As your email message travels from server to server toward its final destination, there are several points where it could be intercepted and read/modified, if this was the prerogative of an attacker.
The solution to this is encryption, which preserves the integrity of the message and prevents it from being read by anyone without the proper key.
While multiple standards and types of encryption are delivered by most mail providers, one of your top priorities for choosing a private email service should be making sure that the encryption type is end-to-end (most secure).
2. Use Trusted Connections
Public WiFi hotspots and open networks are extremely helpful when you travel abroad or have no alternative forms of connectivity, but carry inherent dangers at the same time.
The truth of the matter is that open networks can be set up by anyone and with any name, so a hacker could easily imitate a trusted business or organization.
So how does this apply to email? Well, the traffic going through this network can be mirrored and monitored by the network administrator, so emails could end up in the wrong hands.
Make sure that you are using a trusted connection before sending an email, and if you have no alternative to an open network, use a VPN to encrypt the traffic.
3. Check Every Link
Considering the general efficiency of email filters and antivirus tools present in modern mail services, the probability of downloading malware is lower today than it was 5-10 years ago.
However, email users still face the threat of dangerous links, which can much more easily make their way past filters and rules.
Some links feature text that indicates redirection to a trusted site, while the true URL leads to a malicious web page.
Another common approach used by hackers is imitating a trusted website with a domain name or subdomain that looks similar.
So if you see a suspicious link, it is best not to open it at all, or at least check where it leads through an online link checker tool.
4. Scan Your Files
Email attachments are a common culprit for the distribution of malware, so checking files before they load to or from your device is a common-sense policy.
Make sure not to rely solely on a mail service’s antimalware scanner, and double-check files and directories with personally-obtained and professional software.
On that same note, implementing regular updates to your software and device firmware should prepare you for any new and discovered vulnerabilities that could affect your mail service and devices.
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