Emails are a widespread form of communication. Unfortunately, from over 6.69 billion email accounts in existence, a fourth of them will be or have been hacked. 

 

There are many reasons why email accounts are a priority target of hackers. One of them is the fact that each account contains a vast amount of personal data that can be used to commit identity fraud. 

Hence, you must know the proper ways to protect your email accounts from being hacked. This article will provide ten ways to do just that.

1. Install Antivirus Software

Antivirus software provides protection by scanning for and removing malware. Once you install it, make sure it is regularly updated so you can fend off new types of attacks. 

With antivirus software, you can scan email attachments for any potential malware. This dramatically reduces the risk of you being exposed to ransomware and other forms of malicious applications. 

McAfee and Norton are two examples of excellent antivirus software. 

2. Activate Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication offers an extra layer of protection for your email accounts. In addition to passwords, two-factor authentication requires you to enter a second piece of information generated on another application to confirm your identity. This dramatically reduces the chances of hackers gaining access to your accounts. 

An excellent example of a two-factor authentication application is Google Authenticator

3. Beware of Suspicious Emails

Suspicious emails have been around for a while. There are a lot of different methods used to target victims and many people fall victim to these scams.

Phishing emails are designed to trick users into entering their confidential information such as passwords, account numbers, or dates of birth after clicking a link. These emails may also include attachments that, once opened, will infect your computer with malware. 

Hence, it’s vital to know how to block emails that are suspicious. Though identifying phishing emails is difficult because hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to deceive people, there are ways you can tell them apart from authentic messages

Look out for mismatched URLs, poor spelling and grammar, unexpected correspondence, requests for personal information, and threatening language – these are signs of a possible phishing email. 

4. Use a VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, is an excellent tool to protect your email account from being hacked. It lets you open your email safely and securely by routing the internet connection through a server and encrypting the data transfer. 

When using a VPN, third parties won’t be able to tell what you’re doing or where you’re located. This makes your internet activity untraceable. 

The great thing about VPNs is that they can be used on various devices, including computers, laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. They work on both private and public networks. Some good VPN providers include NordVPN and ExpressVPN.

5. Warn Your Contacts

If hackers do manage to get a hold of your email account and lock you out of it, make sure to immediately inform your colleagues, friends, and family of the breach. 

This will reduce the chances of them falling for any attacks sent from your email. Make sure to remind them not to open any applications, click on any links or share any personal information until you resolve the issue. 

6. Create Strong Passwords

It was discovered that 80% of data breaches happen because of weak or stolen passwords. Often overlooked, having a solid password is a simple yet effective method to protect your email accounts.

Here are some tips for creating strong passwords:

  • Never reuse old passwords.
  • Your password should be longer than ten characters.
  • Utilize a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. 

Alternatively, you can use password generators like LastPass or Dashlane – they will generate unique and strong passwords for you. 

7. Use a Password Manager

It can be difficult to remember a lot of passwords for all your online accounts. For that reason, utilize a password manager – it will provide a centralized and encrypted location to keep those passwords safe.

Password managers work by storing login details from all accounts you use and automatically logging you in each time you return to the service. 

The first step of using a password manager is creating a master password. It will be the key to control access to your entire password database. You must never forget the master password and make it as secure as possible. 

In addition to being excellent password generators, Dashlane and LastPass double as password managers. 

8. Secure Your Wi-Fi Connection

When you’re setting up your home Wi-Fi network, you’ll be asked to create a publicly visible network name known as the SSID (Service Set Identifier). Most routers are configured with a default network name from the manufacturer. 

The first thing you should do is immediately change the default name to make it harder for hackers to know what type of router you’re using. 

The router’s firmware may contain vulnerabilities that hackers will be looking to exploit. Since routers don’t have an auto-update feature, you’ll need to do it manually to ensure your Wi-Fi network is protected. 

9. Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is where internet users are the most vulnerable. Since it’s difficult to know how well protected a network is, hackers may already be on the lookout as you type in your email login details. 

Because anyone can access public Wi-Fi, your information is at risk of being exposed. If you need to use Wi-Fi while you’re not at home, make sure you have a VPN enabled to hide your activities on the network. 

10. Limit Login Attempts

You should limit the number of login attempts to prevent someone from accessing your email account by guessing the credentials. 

Email service providers usually allow users to set the number for login attempts before they lock the account for a specific time. 

In addition, you will be notified when someone attempts to log in multiple times. Make sure to activate this feature for extra protection. 

Conclusion

You now know ten ways to protect your email account from being compromised. Let’s recap:

  1. Install antivirus software.
  2. Activate two-factor authentication.
  3. Beware of suspicious emails.
  4. Use a VPN.
  5. Warn your contacts in case of a security breach.
  6. Create strong passwords.
  7. Use a password manager.
  8. Secure your Wi-Fi connection.
  9. Avoid using public Wi-Fi.
  10. Limit login attempts.

By implementing these methods on your email account, you’ll ensure maximum protection. Good luck!