Securing Your Email – Cybersecurity Tip

When it comes to securing your emails, it's important to think cybersecurity & two-factor authentication. Using complexity on our passwords, thinking about how we access our emails and how we store our email data. As a business, it's essential to have SPF and DKIM configured for your domain's mail records. As a home user, we can backup our emails by using IMAP connections to our host.
Securing your emails - cybersecurity tip

Securing your emails

Always have two-factor authentication turned on for your email accounts for signing in to them

Your email account likely contains sensitive information that you wouldn’t want to get into anyone else’s hands. You probably correspond with your accountant and exchange sensitive information there. You might receive payment details via email, if you have engaged a lawyer for any reason then you probably also communicate with them via email. There are a lot of other things you probably do via email that are extremely sensitive. Therefore, you should have the highest security possible on logging into your email account. This should consist of a strong password (see above) and two-factor authentication, where you generally use your phone as a secondary device for proving your identity. This consists of receiving a text message to your phone and entering the code to validate your login, or getting a code from an authenticator app on your phone to validate the login.

The most secure client for accessing your email is your webmail client

Accessing your email using a webmail client is actually the most secure way to do It for a number of reasons. Firstly, by not having to configure your own settings to access your email, there is little chance that they could be insecure (such as by not using secure sockets layer (SSL) and the correct ports). Secondly, by accessing your email via your webmail client, you are not downloading any emails to your computer, so if they do contain anything malicious there is less chance that it can damage your computer. Thirdly, most big email providers (such as Google and Microsoft) have built in antivirus scanning in their webmail clients, so you get this added protection as well.

Otherwise use a modern desktop email client that supports the most up to date security standards

If you are going to use a desktop email client, make sure it is one that is up-to-date. It is just as important that this stays up to date as your operating system, and for the same reason. Old, out of date, desktop email clients become insecure over time because they haven’t adopted more modern authentication protocols and newer versions of SSL. So sure you might be used to Outlook 2010 and like the look of it, but it’s not up-to-date, and if you want your email to be secure then you shouldn’t use it.

Connect to your email accounts using IMAP on secure ports. Do not use POP and do not use insecure ports.

You should always use IMAP as the protocol for connecting to your email server rather than POP. With IMAP, a copy of your emails is always on the server. With POP, you are generally downloading everything to be stored locally on your computer. If something happens to your computer, and you don’t have a backup, then you’ve lost all your emails. With IMAP, there is always a backup of emails. Also make sure you are using secure ports (993 for IMAP and generally 465 for SMTP) and have SSL turned on so that there is less chance that your emails are intercepted during transmission.

Do not setup your email so you have a main address with your other email addresses hanging off it as aliases.

Sure, it seems convenient to have one main address and therefore one inbox, and have all your other email addresses as aliases of that main address. But in this day and age where DKIM is increasingly being used to sign emails and verify their authenticity, you are just making yourself look like a spammer with activity like this. Setup all your email addresses properly, and send and receive from each one of them individually. Many email clients have a unified Inbox feature, so it’s possible to have all your emails coming into the one Inbox anyway.

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