Every week we see customers who have had their email accounts hacked. Some are lucky and manage to jump in and update the password before any real damage is done. Others are not so lucky and lose their account altogether.

The hackers/spammers get into the email account, change the password and lock you out forever! Sometimes they change the language as well. Once they gain control of the account, they then use it to send out mass amounts of spam to all the email contacts and sometimes mass spam lists.

Unless you have multiple options for account recovery – you won’t have a chance of regaining control over your account.  Read on for more tips on how to improve the security of your account!

 

General Tips

Don’t sign in from a computer you don’t trust – Be wary of using a computer that could have password-stealing software on it.

Always use an internet security program on your computer. For a free program – we recommend AVG. For paid software, we highly recommend (and personally use) Kaspersky Internet Security – at $59 for 2 years coverage, its cheap insurance. Drop in to our shop and grab a copy – we always have it in stock!

Don’t tell anyone your password! Should go without saying – but we will put it in our list anyway.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft/Yahoo/Google etc and wanting any information from you – hang up on them … it’s a complete scam. Read here for more information!

 

Passwords

The most important thing you can do is to choose a secure password! Following this list (provided by Google) is a good idea!

  • Be creative. Don’t use words that can be found in a dictionary.
  • Use at least eight characters.
  • Don’t use a password that you have used elsewhere.
  • Don’t use keyboard patterns (asdf) or sequential numbers (1234).
  • Create an acronym. Don’t use a common one, like NASA or SCUBA. Combine it with numbers and punctuation marks.
  • Include punctuation marks and numbers. Mix capital and lowercase letters.
  • Include similar looking substitutions, such as the number zero for the letter ‘O’ or $ for the letter ‘S’.
  • Include phonetic replacements, such as ‘Luv 2 Laf’ for ‘Love to Laugh.’
  • Don’t make your password all numbers, all uppercase letters, or all lowercase letters.
  • Find ways of collecting random letters and numbers, such as opening books, looking at license plates or taking the third letter from the first ten words you see.
  • Don’t use repeating characters (aa11).
  •  Don’t use a password that is listed as an example of how to pick a good password.

 

Have multiple account recovery options

Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo all give you a variety of options for adding secondary methods of verifying the account owner. You are strongly encouraged to add your mobile number and multiple backup email addresses. What this allows you to do is request a password reset to be sent to your phone or other email account. Once you have this password reset ability – you will be able to get back in to your account. Without this ability – consider your account (and all your emails) gone!

 

There’s a big list of tips available directly from Google themselves – click here to read

Microsoft have provided a list of tips you can follow to increase your
security when using Hotmail : click here

Information on creating Sign in Seals and more for Yahoo users can be found here

Setup Alerts

You can have alerts setup to email or SMS you if your account is logged in to somewhere out of the ordinary.

You can setup “authorised computers” that your email account will recognise.  If an attempt is made to login via an unauthorised account, the user will need to verify the new computer before being able to login.

Just the other day one of my personal Gmail accounts had an attempted login from someone in the USA. I received an email to my backup account letting me know about the unauthorised login – this was a good prompt to change my password to something new.

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