Ever get a Microsoft security alert email? One out of every 412 emails contains a malware attack. It doesn’t matter if you’re just a person sitting comfortably at home or a dedicated worker pushing one email after the other with short breaks of sweet old coffee. Every one of us is susceptible to these attacks and in a slightly twisted way we should all expect them. They could come in all shapes or sizes, and if you don’t want to lose a speech for your “Dyno week” conference that you spent a 100 hours writing maybe you shouldn’t let your friend open an email link with the subject line “Nude pictures of Anna Kournikova.”
There are ways to avoid all this, and I’ll tell you all the best practices for email security that I know of.
1. Make up strong passwords
Think of a password of 8 letters. Done? Now scratch that and use a password generator with all the available check marks like uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers checked off. Write it down in some kind of password manager: Lastpass, Nordpass, Dashlane, or other, and you won’t have to remember it.
2. Security questions
If it’s available, make up one. Make up a question with an obscure answer about yourself that only you would know. If that’s not available, use one of the default ones but use a fake answer, something that can’t be traced online. Then try not to forget that one.
3. Use a VPN
A crowd favorite for all your encryption needs. It encrypts all your traffic and ensures more security for your information online (added bonus, it also unblocks Netflix libraries). Some vpns go as far as creating additional tools of security like Surfshark has been doing with Hacklock. You can read about it more here, but in short, it keeps an eye out on your emails and passwords alerting you about any leaks so you can act accordingly and change all of your passwords. Great tool overall.
4. Use a secure email service
Which means using websites that have https at the beginning. Not the http. One thing to know about it is that the mail server saves your messages in plain text. That means that even though no one can tap into your network, anyone with access to the mail server can see the content of your messages.
5. Encrypt your messages
Preferably not by hand, a few of the email clients already do this for you. For example, Gmail, even though google’s point of view on privacy is a bit questionable. Outlook also uses encryption, however, it does not work on outlook.com. Or you could always use disposable emails like Maildrop offers.
Last but not least, maybe avoid sending your social security number through email. There are ways like using Signal or Telegram. Have more tools that are keeping your emails safe? Feel free to share them in the comments!
Previously published at https://medium.com/@federikpoulsen/email-security-best-practises-fb7d0fde4120