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How to protect your e-mail account from hackers?

“Can you email those photos today?”, “Ohh yesterday I forgot to e-mail you even though I was planning to do so, really sorry, a silly mistake” This is a snapshot of a heard (not listened) conversation of two young guys in the bus that I was travelling few days ago….During my school days there were e-mails but they were not so popular among us. We had limited access to the internet, hence we knew very little about e-mails. However, time has changed rapidly and now it is hard to find a youngster who does not have an e-mail address.

E-mail has simply become the most widely used communication methodology over the internet. Since there are many free e-mail services provided by Google, Yahoo, Hotmail and so on many people have e-mail accounts which have storage around 2 giga bites (GBs). So, in this article I thought to give a basic overview of e-mails and also provide some vital facts on protecting your e-mail account from hackers.

1.What can you do to protect your e-mail account from hackers?

Have a strong password: Password should not be your name, hometown, age, school name as personal information like those can be easily retrievable in the contemporary world with the growth of the internet, search engines and social networks. Password of your email account must be a combination of letters (abcdef…), numbers (1234….) and special characters (!@#$%....). There are even several strong password generators available to help you pick a secure password. If you prefer to choose the password yourself, don't use simple words.

2.Obscure the answers to your security questions: You can do your best to choose the most obscure questions when you are signing up for a new account, but you still cannot guarantee that that information is outside of the reach of anyone. The real key lies in obscuring your answers. Here are some examples:

a.What is your pet’s name: My answer would be: WeirdQuestion PetName Balupatiya

b.What is your favorite sports team? My answer would be: InsaneQuestion SportsTeam ElleRascals

3.Be aware of a phishing scam: Never respond to an unexpected email or web site that asks you for your personal information or account login details.

4.Always use https when logging into your email account: The word HTTPS represents Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and Security sockets layer. This protects your valuable information from others and also prevents them from stealing it. Since they don’t have access to it, how can they steal it? It is impossible for them to do so. And this service is quite good because you can use it anywhere throughout the whole world but you have to make sure that you don’t use the normal http which is always prone to hackers.

5.Install firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware protection on your computer and keep them up to date: Automated updates for your virus scanner and regularly scheduled full scans for spyware is best. Windows users with newer computers can get Microsoft Security Essentials. Some commonly used standalone antivirus software that can be used includes Avast Anti-Virus, Norton Internet Security and Spybot S & D. Windows users (not pirated copies) remember to let your computer automatically update windows so that will help the updated antivirus and internet security software to perform effectively. And make sure you update your browser too. Firefox usually informs you whenever they release a newer version or update.

6.Avoid logging into your accounts from un-trusted computers: Un-trusted computers include any computer that you do not maintain yourself. This includes high risk public computers such as the computers at cyber cafes, your local library and un-trusted Wi-Fi zones but also includes computers that belong to your friends and family that could already be infected with spyware.

7.These tips will almost protect you being hacked, but we cannot give you a 100% guarantee that your e-mail account will not be hacked as there are intelligent but unethical, cunning eavesdroppers around the globe.

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