E-mail is a necessary component for communication. Most people use it for both personal and business correspondence. Unfortunately, if your e-mail address is not secure, hackers could gain access to your messages and account. This can be a big problem if your e-mails contain sensitive information. You can prevent this problem by setting up a secure e-mail address to use for correspondence that you want to keep private.
- Skill level:
Choose an e-mail provider with a secure login site. This will be indicated by an address that starts with "https" rather than "http." A secure site will protect your password and other information when you log in and it is transmitted to the site.
Select a provider that offers encryption for your e-mail messages. According to the Hushmail e-mail service, encryption protects messages from being read by unauthorised parties even if they get access to the email server. It also protects your message from someone who has tapped into your Internet connection on a public network or unsecured wireless connection.
Use an e-mail service that allows you to use pseudonyms. This allows you to protect your actual identity when you send and receive e-mail messages.
Do not open attachments from unknown senders, as they may contain a virus or malicious software that will monitor your activity or even take over your computer. You should also be suspicious of attachments you were not expecting, even if they come from a known sender. The sender's computer could have been taken over by malware and be sending you a virus without his knowledge.
Exercise caution when giving out your secure e-mail address. Restrict its use to business use or to close friends. Use an e-mail address from a free service such as Gmail or Yahoo! to make purchases, sign up for subscriptions or do anything else that might expose you to spam.
Tips and warnings
- Even though you may be using a secure e-mail address, your information may be revealed if someone gets a court order compelling the email provider to release it. The court order typically must be obtained in the jurisdiction where the email servers are located.
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