How to Protect Your Email — Stay Safe from Spam, Malware, and Online Attacks

Posted on Jun 9, 2022 by Jai Reider

How to Protect Your Email

Hackers can use your email to gain access to almost your whole life through trojan spyware, malware, and viruses that infect your devices. 

Whether phishing attempts or stolen passwords, attackers use many different tricks to access your emails and steal your important data.

Thankfully, keeping your email account and associated personal data safe is easier than you might think. We have plenty of tips to help you secure your email accounts, without fear of your devices getting infected or having your private information stolen. 

How to Keep Your Email Secure 

📢Create a Strong Password

A strong password is the gatekeeper for email security. This is the first thing you need to get right if you want to protect your email. 

Hackers are smart, and they have multiple ways to get into your email, such as phishing, dictionary attacks, and brute force attacks. The stronger the password you use, the harder it is for hackers to gain access to your account.

A strong password should have a minimum of 12 characters — the longer your password is, the less likely it is hackers can crack it. Use a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, random symbols, and characters. Don’t use easy-to-guess passwords or passwords that form a pattern, such as vertical or horizontal letters and numbers, your first name, pet’s name, or birth date.

📢Use a Unique Password

We access our banking, mail, bills, entertainment, work accounts, social media platforms, news, appointments, and so much more online. That means we have a lot of accounts, which also means a lot of login information to remember.

While it can be tempting to use the same password for multiple accounts — it’s a bad idea. It may be easier for you to remember, but also means it is easier for your password to fall into the wrong hands

With your password, individuals can get access to your email account easily — and probably any other account you’ve used the same password for.

If you’re worried about remembering all of your passwords, consider using a password manager

A password manager allows you to generate, store, and manage passwords in one place. It also generates and retrieves complex passwords for you, so you don’t have to worry about trying to remember them yourself. To keep passwords secure, you can store them in an encrypted database or have them calculated on demand.

📢Turn on Two-Step Verification

Two-step verification acts as an additional barrier to your email after your password is entered. It usually involves entering a code sent to your phone, biometrics such as face ID, or a security key. The two-step verification process may sound technical or time-consuming, but it really only takes a few minutes to set up.

If you opt for a security key, the first step is to get it. You can use a compatible phone’s built-in security key or purchase one from a trustworthy retailer, such as those listed on Yubico. 

The second step is to add the key to your account. Simply sign in to your account, go to the security section and turn on two-step verification. Finally, sign in to the account with your key, sort of like a trial, to confirm the set-up was completed successfully. 

For the text messaging code option, you’ll receive a code to your phone when you try to access your email. You’ll need to enter this verification code in order to view your inbox.

The Google prompt security verification method is also simple. When you attempt to log in (Google-based email accounts), you’ll receive a notification on your phone for you to confirm the sign-in attempt is legit.

📢Remove Risky Access to Your Data

This process involves removing all unnecessary apps and websites connected to your email suite. You may have given access to the apps unknowingly or perhaps you’ve forgotten which apps access your data.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly, apps can log all sorts of personal data. This can include:

  • Your full name.
  • Email address.
  • Google Drive or other Cloud storage.
  • Profile picture.
  • Personal info that’s publicly available.

Pay attention to what permissions you grant to apps: some apps request permissions that they don’t need. For example, it’s probably unlikely that a shopping app needs access to your phone’s camera.

Online Habits to Protect You From Getting Scammed

🔐Use Burner Email Account

Most email providers don’t charge you for an email account, so you can set up unlimited accounts. 

Set up burner accounts using false names so it’s harder to identify you. You can then use these for leisure websites, some social media accounts, surveys, and more. They won’t be useful to hackers or harmful to you if they get compromised.

🔐Avoid Opening Unknown Attachments

Opening unknown attachments is the equivalent of hitting the install button on an app marked “virus”.  You shouldn’t do this for so many reasons. 

Hackers can use attachments like trojan horses to infect your device. Once opened, they can install malware, spyware, viruses, and adware on your device. This could give hackers access to all of your personal information and files.

🔐Use a Link Scanner

A link scanner tool helps you avoid known malicious buttons or links so you can spot something risky before clicking on it. It does this by identifying known malicious links. However, even if you get the all-clear from a link scanner, don’t click on buttons or links in emails from unknown senders. 

🔐Keep Your Device Up-To-Date

Ensuring your device’s operating system up-to-date is another way to protect your email and keep your information secure. Out-of-date operating systems could be running security suites that have loopholes or can’t protect you from newer security threats.

Protect Your Devices From Malware

Prevention is better than a cure. Be proactive to protect your email, before risks become a real problem. Use security tools to prevent hackers and others from gaining access to your personal information and files.


Install a VPN with an Antivirus

Choose a VPN with antivirus software so that if threats appear, you’re able to respond to them before they damage your device. 

Download Private Internet Access and use our world-class antivirus add-on to stay safe from online attacks and viruses.  We’ll notify you if we come across any threats on your system, so you can take immediate action. 

We’re always updating our list of viruses, so you’re always protected from the latest threats.


Avoid Using Public Computers

If possible, don’t use public computers to input personal data or log into any accounts. It’s very easy for anyone to install malware and/or spyware on these devices. 

If you log in to any of your accounts on a public computer, spyware such as keyloggers can save your credentials as you enter them. Public networks also use weaker security, which means it’s easy for hackers to compromise these networks,intercept traffic, and steal your information.

Secure Your Email to Protect Your Privacy

Although you might think your email inbox is private, it’s not. Hackers can easily get into your email accounts, whether simply by stealing a weak password or by sending you risky phishing emails. That’s why protecting your email is essential for increasing your online privacy.
But switching up your passwords and avoiding unknown email attachments can only do so much. The best way to keep your email secure is by using a VPN to encrypt your online traffic and keep it invisible from any snoopers. Download Private Internet Access and protect your devices from malware and other nasty online threats.

FAQs

What is email security, and why is it important?

Email security refers to the different techniques and procedures used to protect email accounts, email content, and communications from getting compromised. It’s extremely important you practice email security to prevent malware and spam from getting into your inbox. 

One of the things you can do is download PIA VPN to hide your online traffic, so no one can snoop on your online activity. 

How can I make my email safe?

You can protect your email by not using public computers and public Wi-Fi. Also, make sure you always create strong, unique passwords and turn on two-step verification for your email account.

If you absolutely have to use public Wi-Fi, don’t forget to turn on your VPN before connecting to it.

Finally, remember to keep your antivirus software up to date to prevent malware from infiltrating your devices.

How do you protect yourself from email attacks?

To protect yourself from email attacks, limit which apps have access to your email address. Set up a few burner email accounts to limit the exposure of your real email address to unscrupulous individuals. 

Never open unknown attachments or click on buttons or links from unknown sources. These can install malware, spyware, viruses, adware, etc., on your device. 

You should also consider a VPN to encrypt your data and keep it hidden away from snoopers. Use Private Internet Access to mask your traffic and stay safe from surveillance. If you need help getting started, our 24/7 ccustomer support team is ready to help.

Are some emails safer than others?

Some email providers take your privacy more seriously than others. The most secure email providers use a combination of privacy and security measures such as end-to-end encryption and Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect messages between your computer and the server.

The most secure email providers strip out the sender’s computer, browser, and network information. They make their code open source so it can be examined for vulnerabilities. Not all email providers practice these measures, and you need to be wary of relying on those who don’t.   

Can a VPN protect my email?

Yes! A VPN is the best way to protect your email. Private Internet Access uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption to hide your traffic and keep it away from email hackers. 
PIA also has an antivirus addon that protects your device from viruses and malware. Our software scans your PC for viruses and malware, protecting you from online attacks 24/7. You’ll get immediate notifications about suspicious activity, so you can take action.

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