Nowadays an e-mail account is as vital as an online bank account.
We use both of them literally every day and we store personal data there. Bank account contains data “only” on our savings and financial obligations plus, of course, our money. E-mail account aggregates various important data, losing which would be as painful as losing real money.
Access to a bank account is hampered by complicated passwords and additional authorisation steps. E-mail account is usually not well secured and we tend to neglect that fact. This is an obvious mistake, because why shouldn’t you protect something that is as vital for you as your money?
Read on to check how to protect your e-mails on the example of one of the most popular e-mail client, i.e. Gmail.
1. Message encryption
This sounds complicated but no need to worry. It is not about some advanced techniques like the Enigma machine. When you use the Web, normal connections are established via unsecured http protocol. When you access your bank or an online store, the protocol changes to encrypted, and “s” is added to the website prefix – https://. Gmail offers encrypted connection but many websites unfortunately do not.
Although it may seem that the only difference is this “s” in name and the padlock icon next to the www address, in reality the difference is huge and decides on security of your data. Gmail is also planning to implement a tool that warns its users if they get a message sent from not encrypted connection.
2. 2-step verification
2-step verification stands for two types of security measures. This method is highly efficient and if you value your e-mail accounts privacy do not hesitate to make use of it. Unfortunately not every e-mail provider offers this solution, but if yours does – definitely turn it on. How does this two-step verification work? After typing in your password, you receive a verification code on your phone which is needed for the next step of logging in to your account. It does not require much work from the User and additionally effectively protects your account. If somebody wanted to break in and read your e-mails, this person would have to know not only your credentials but also would need to have access to your mobile phone, what is rather impossible.
To turn this option on you just need to click your mouse a few times. Go to the “My Account” tab in the right upper corner. In the “Sign-in & security” tab choose “Signing in to Google” and the turn on 2-step verification on the right.
3. Browsing e-mails in incognito mode
Everybody has at least once logged in to an e-mail account not on their private computer, at friends’ or on a public machine. In such situations it is advised to turn on the incognito mode. In this mode you do not leave any personal information nor temporary files. After closing a window you are also automatically logged out from all opened webpages. This function is available in every browser, so nothing prevents you from using it.
Another plus of the incognito mode is that you can log in to two different accounts in the same browser. To do so, open one in normal mode and the other in incognito. We advise to do so only on private devices.
It is common knowledge that good password is a must. The problem appears when it comes to creating one. An interesting idea is using a free password generator that creates really strong passwords. Passwordsgenerator.net offers a wide choice of numbers of signs and their type. You can use it to generate unbreakable passwords like m\UB/9]\gB5@cHkev[\8g&TLHb+TPcE:y – you have to admit that it would be hard to crack.
The 2015 worst passwords ranking, prepared by SplashData company, shows how weak our passwords are. I am sure some of you will find their password in the top ten.
Keeping your e-mail accounts safe is crucial and you should not belittle obvious matters like setting a strong password. If in real life somebody tried to get to your mailbox you would certainly be angry. So protecting its electronic equivalent should be one of your priorities and 2-step verification seems to be the best safeguarding tool.