How to make your email account hacker-proof

Secure your email account from hackers with two easy steps.

Finger pushing virtual email button for email security

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.

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    COMMENTS

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    Erin
    24th Jan 2017
    11:20am
    Hi team

    Thanks for the information on making emails hacker-proof.

    Can you kindly advise how to send emails from Microsoft Outlook to a Hotmail account user as they are returned to my Inbox soon after I've sent them.

    Thanks, in anticipation
    Eclair
    24th Jan 2017
    7:07pm
    Dear Erin, there should be no problem. What does the returned error message say?
    Double check that Hotmail address. Is it absolutely, positively correct down to the last full stop or hyphen? If you already have an email from this person, press Reply and add your message to that rather than risking mistyping their address.
    Perhaps their inbox is full and they need to clear it.
    Perhaps they have asked their account to only accept emails from known friends (people on their Contact file) and they haven't added you to the list.
    If this fails, ask them to send you an email and to add you to their list of contacts. Reply to their email and see what happens.
    If all this fails, shoot the computer.
    jackie
    24th Jan 2017
    1:29pm
    Thank you for the advice but the reality is nothing makes them hackproof.
    MICK
    24th Jan 2017
    8:22pm
    Yeah Ryan....when you are overseas with global roaming or stuck in an internet cafe where you are buying your connection by the minute you are going to get an SMS to log on? Clearly you do not travel. Don't even think about emailing on a cruise!
    Mamacrystal
    25th Jan 2017
    12:40pm
    Mick.....Ryan being of a much younger generation, probably doesn't think us old fogeys should be trotting off on cruises or overseas generally let alone have any idea about global roaming, LOL


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