Your email is an access point for all of your online accounts. If it’s hacked, everything can be compromised, so why not take two simple steps to make your email more secure.
Most online accounts only require access to your email account to change your password. While this is convenient in the short term, it means that if someone has access to your email account, they can change your passwords and access your accounts. These two steps can secure your email account from hackers.
1. Make sure your password is strong
Ideally every password you have should be unique and impossible to guess but this is doubly true for your email password. If one of your accounts is compromised and your email uses the same password, it won’t be hard for a hacker to access it. Using a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols is recommended. Many security experts also advise incorporating a nonsensical, but memorable, phrase into your password, e.g. ‘NovemberBirdsLearnEnglish’. This will make your password longer, and therefore harder to hack, as well as easier to remember due to the memorable phrase. This website can help you to generate a random phrase to use.
2. Set up two-step verification
Two-step verification requires you to authenticate yourself when you log into an account with a second device, usually a smartphone. For example, when you log in to your email account a code is sent via SMS to your phone, without which you cannot log in. This means a hacker needs access to your phone as well as your password to log in, which they are very unlikely to have.
Gmail, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple offer two-step verification, as do other online services such as Facebook, PayPal and Twitter.
Learn how to activate two-step verification with Gmail and Hotmail/Outlook.
If your email provider doesn’t offer two-step verification, you might want to consider migrating to a different provider.