Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How can you protect your e-mail account?

How secure is your e-mail account? Would it be a somewhat easy matter for crafty hackers to break into your account? And what would happen if they did? Think of all the spam messages and phishing schemes hackers can launch through your e-mail account. Thankfully, you can take steps to protect your e-mail account, and a recent blog by the New York Times explains how to do this. The best news? Protecting yourself doesn't take a lot of work.



Updates



The first tip provided by the Times? Maintain your computer's operating system, e-mail program, browsers and security software are all up to date. This means not ignoring it whenever your computer tells you that an update is offered. It may be a pain to constantly update your computer, but these updates often contain important protections against viruses. Ignore them at your own peril.



Passwords



The Times also recommends that you not make passwords too easy to guess. A lot of computer users succumb to the trap of using simple passwords like their last names, street addresses or children’s names. Hackers can crack these quite easily. Preferably, create passwords that include strings of letters, numbers and symbols, something significantly more challenging for a hacker. Never re-use passwords. Create a new one for every one of your important online accounts.



Two-step authentication



As the Times writes, your biggest protection against hackers might be two-step authentication. Under such a system, you’ll need to provide two pieces of information to log onto your e-mail account. You may first have to provide a traditional password. Then you might have to enter a secret code sent to you smartphone any time you log onto your e-mail account on a different computer. Again, this extra step will keep the hackers out of your e-mail account.

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