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For most people, email is an essential part of their daily lives and contains vital information, including bank account information and other logins. Because of this, email is also a prime target for hackers. How can you protect yourself? Here are a few easy tips that anyone with an email account can use to protect themselves.

5 easy tips to protect your email from hackers


  1. Use complex passwords. You should have a strong, complex password. Easy passwords make for easy hacking, and hackers use programs that can cycle through millions of logins a second to identify and crack weak accounts. Complex passwords have a minimum of 8 to 10 characters including numbers and special characters such as ` ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ - + = { } [ ] \ | : ; " ' < > , . ?
    In addition to using complex passwords, current best practice standards encourage changing your password at regular intervals, such as every 45 days.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication. Enabling two-factor authentication requires a second form of authentication, in addition to your password, when you log in to your email account from a new device. You will need to enter a special one-time code, often sent to another device, such as a mobile phone. Instructions for two-step authentication can be found on the email provider’s website. Please keep in mind, not all email providers offer two-step authentication; avoiding those providers is best practice.
  3. Review email settings. Periodically review all email forwarding settings to ensure no unexpected email addresses have been added. Hackers sometimes change email settings to forward copies of your emails or reroute emails to another folder or email address. This allows them to watch for any emails containing log-in information for other sites.
  4. Run a full scan with an anti-malware program. There are multiple free anti-malware software products available for download. In the event a scan detects malware on your computer, follow the instructions to remove it. You may want to run it a second time to be sure. Keep in mind that some malware programs are advanced. In certain situations the anti-malware software may not rid the machine of the malware program. In order to be completely free of that malware, you may need to re-install the PC’s Operating System.
  5. Use secure networks. As a best practice, never log in to computers that are not secure. Computers located in public places, such as hotels and libraries, are often poorly secured, making it the perfect location for hackers to install malware.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In recognition of that, Cambridge Trust Company has partnered with Stop. Think. Connect. to provide information and resources to help you stay safe and secure online. Click here for more information.