It’s time to face the fact that for most of us, email is the single most important digital asset we own: more than anything else, it is our digital DNA. To some degree, email is connected to every online account we have; it contains the username, password reset, and an archive of most of our digital doings. It’s been said that if a criminal owns a person’s email, he owns the person.
With more and more people keeping tabs on their financial statements, contact information and other sensitive data via email, it’s time to double-check your email habits to see if you’re putting yourself at risk.
#1 Never use public PCs. A public computer can be likened to a public toilet. You don’t really know who’s used it before you and you don’t know what kind of virus you can catch from it. PCs in libraries, hotel business centers or internet cafés can easily have keyloggers or keycatchers installed that can steal your usernames and passwords. Checking email on an unsecured computer that you don’t have any control over is risky and, frankly, irresponsible.
#2 Use a VPN over wireless. Wireless was born to be convenient, not secure. Sniffers can read wireless communications over free public WiFi and get usernames and passwords. Always use a wireless VPN, such as Hotspot Shield, that encrypts your wireless access.
#3 Log out of your device when not in use. Staying logged in 24/7/365 is risky. Anyone that has access to your computer or mobile device at home or work can own your email. Contractors, cleaners, vendors, burglars and even a spouse can put you at risk.
#4 Delete phishing emails. Any emails you receive that request you to click links to updating accounts, shipped packages, problems with accounts or for special offers are suspect. Phishing leads to keyloggers or compromised username/passwords. If these emails end up in your spam folder, leave them there.
#5 Never click links. I only click links in emails when it’s a “confirmation” email from signing into a new account or when I’m communicating with a friend, family member, colleague or known contact who then sends me a link. Otherwise, I never click links in emails, including in online statements. I always use my favorites menu or a password manager to get where I need to go.
Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.
- 6 Ways to Secure Your Email Account
On August 30th, 1982, a copyright for a Computer Program for Electronic Mail System was issued to Shiva Ayvadurai. Thus, email was born. 32 years later, email has become an essential part of our lives. Emails are a must-have item, allowing us to connect and share information with friends, teachers, and co-workers. To celebrate email’s birthday, here
- Most Unwanted Criminals: Phishers, Shoulder Surfers and Keyloggers
McAfee’s most unwanted criminals have included pickpockets, Trojan viruses, and ATM skimmers, dumpster divers, spies, and wireless hackers and now phishers, shoulder surfers, and keyloggers. Identity theft can happen online or on the ground to anyone with a pulse, and even to the deceased. The key is awareness, vigilance, and investing in products and services that
- Phishing Remains Popular and Effective
Phishing, where a scammer sends an email that appears to come from a trusted source in order to trick recipients into clicking malicious links, has been around for quite a while now. Although phishing has become fairly well known, the scam continues to be a successful and widely used as a method of stealing bank
- Hackproof your facebook account
With over one billion people connected to Facebook, we have to assume that many of them are criminals. (Criminals are people with friends too!) But the criminals we need to be concerned about are the ones who create all kinds of scams designed to do everything from getting us to open our wallets to clicking
- Online Gamers Risk Credit Card Fraud
The Sony Corporation has been providing consumers with stellar electronics since before the introduction of the Walkman. The past six months have been harsher for Sony, with attacks by hacktivists and numerous breaches of clients’ data. Many recent breaches involved usernames, passwords, email addresses, and in some cases, credit card numbers. Each compromised data point is