301-571-5040    Get SUPPORT

Washington Works Blog

Washington Works has been serving the Bethesda area since 2005, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Email Security Basics

Email Security Basics

Email is a modern classic as far as business solutions are concerned, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an office that didn’t use it in some capacity or another. However, because email is so popular, it has become a favorite attack vector of malicious users. Fortunately, there are some basic practices that will help keep your email account secure and your communications private.

Follow Password Guidelines
As you might imagine, one of the most important, basic ways that you can lock down your email account is to ensure that your password is sufficiently strong. Too often, breach statistics (and similar data sets) reveal that passwords are still overwhelmingly insecure. Pet names, birthdays and anniversaries, and favorite sports teams are used as passwords far more than they should be, as are common keyboard patterns, like qwerty, asdf, and the like. Some minimal social engineering could very easily provide someone with access to an email account they have no business being in.

To counter this, avoid the temptation to resort to formulaic, easy-to-guess password systems - like, for instance, smushing your alma mater’s mascot together with the number of your childhood home. Again, these password conventions are the first things that a cybercriminal will try if they want to get into your email account. Instead, do your best to rely on an as-random-as-possible string of numbers and letters - creating a different one for each of your accounts. This will ensure that your passwords are as strong as possible with the added benefit of protecting the rest of your accounts if one of your passwords is discovered.

Of course, for the sake of pragmatism, is it totally realistic to remember a completely random string of alphanumeric characters for everything that requires a password? For many, it isn’t. That’s why many resort to using, rather than a password, a passphrase. A passphrase takes a sentence memorable to the individual and turns it into a mnemonic device. So, a fan of films by Rob Reiner could take a line from one of his works and create a password from it, like “uRdBS” or “HFSTC” from The Princess Bride, or “UCHTT” from A Few Good Men.

Avoid the Unknown
Once you’ve accessed your email, there are a few ways that you can avoid putting yourself at risk. One very important way is to avoid the links in email unless you have verified that they do, in fact, go to (and come from) where they appear to.

First, where will the included link direct you? Links can be tricky things, which makes them a favorite of cybercriminals to use in emails. If the link is attached to text, you should hover over it and peek at the status bar that pops up before clicking on it. While the text might say that it brings you to the sender’s official webpage, the link could very well actually direct you to a domain that uploads a virus into your system. If the status bar says that you will be directed to someplace that doesn’t look quite right, skip the link.

You also shouldn’t blindly open an email that hasn’t come from a known or verified source, and even that can now be dangerous. There is a tactic that can be used to great effect as a way to snare even the most cybersecurity-mindful targets called email spoofing. As its name suggests, email spoofing is the act of forging an email’s header so that it appears to have come from someone else, likely someone trusted enough that the email will be opened, read, and interacted with.

As a result, it is best to verify the email with the cited sender whenever possible, through a different means of communication. Whether that means a quick phone call or instant message before you open the email, it is better to be safe than it is to be sorry.

What are some other ways that you keep your email from becoming a security risk? Share them in the comments, and make sure you take a moment and subscribe to this blog!

Varieties of Smart Tech to Consider
3 Industries that Smart Technology is Revolutioniz...
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Thursday, June 21 2018
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab this Article!

QR-Code dieser Seite

Tag Cloud

Tip of the Week Security Technology Best Practices Cloud Business Computing Malware Privacy Hackers Email Software Network Security Business Backup Ransomware Managed IT Services Mobile Devices Productivity User Tips Tech Term Microsoft Hosted Solutions Internet Computer Smartphone Google Android Data Recovery Managed Service Provider Small Business Efficiency Social Media Windows 10 Cloud Computing Data Management Encryption Business Continuity Office 365 Paperless Office Browser Productivity IT Support Data Backup Communication IT Services Remote Monitoring Business Management Hardware Outsourced IT BYOD Work/Life Balance Innovation Workplace Tips Save Money App Server Cybersecurity Disaster Recovery Smartphones Infrastructure Tip of the week Government Bandwidth Vulnerability Data IT Management Password Apps Word Big Data Employer-Employee Relationship Artificial Intelligence Phishing Document Management Holiday Compliance Antivirus Hosted Solution Windows Managed IT Services Unified Threat Management Money Facebook Virtual Reality Chrome Risk Management How To Saving Money Applications Windows 10 SaaS Computer Care Robot Data loss Tech Support Mobile Device Recovery Training File Sharing VPN Remote Computing Data Security Telephone Systems Chromebook Server Management Virtual Private Network Firewall Automobile Alert Health Internet of Things Samsung Computing Wi-Fi Taxes Passwords Gmail Politics Regulations Identity Theft Physical Security Hacker Websites Maintenance Customer Relationship Management Business Technology Office HIPAA Botnet Automation Mobile Security Smart Technology BDR Collaboration Patch Management Twitter Two-factor Authentication Scam Vendor Management Multi-Factor Security Update Disaster Company Culture Mirgation Private Cloud Heating/Cooling Modem Downtime Managed IT Service Network Augmented Reality Value Web Server Networking Computing Infrastructure Google Calendar Uninterrupted Power Supply Managing Stress Storage Error Servers Cookies Break Fix YouTube WiFi The Internet of Things Budget Professional Services Cameras Gadgets Alerts Quick Tips Computer Repair Legislation Enterprise Content Management Chatbots Communications Nanotechnology Cybercrime Dark Web Processors Settings GPS USB CCTV Licensing Law Enforcement Google Drive Mouse Solid State Drive Unified Communications Identity Statistics Upgrade Screen Reader Mail Merge Microsoft Excel Digital Tracking Virtualization Dongle Techology Cooperation Gadget VoIP Tablet Emoji Hard Disk Drive Wireless Bring Your Own Device Bluetooth Smart Tech Travel Address Spyware Search VoIP Service Level Agreement G Suite Unified Threat Management Staff Avoiding Downtime Electronic Medical Records Comparison Connectivity Motion Sickness Blockchain Cortana Utility Computing User Error Time Management Legal Specifications Office Tips IBM IoT Permissions Notifications How To Social Healthcare IT Consultant Wearable Technology Network Management Printer Sports Managed IT Black Friday Microsoft Office Social Networking Star Wars Meetings Fraud Analytics Supercomputer IT Support Management Touchscreen Access Control Administrator Outlook Cyber Monday Corporate Profile Website Motherboard Cost Management Webcam Lenovo IT Budget Cabling IT Solutions Enterprise Resource Planning Education Machine Learning SharePoint Shortcut Black Market WannaCry Spam Assessment Point of Sale Superfish Hotspot Crowdsourcing Firefox Digital Payment Upgrades Mobile Device Management Mobile Cleaning IT Technicians Relocation Downloads Router Distributed Denial of Service Monitors Staffing Internet Exlporer Language Personal Information Lithium-ion battery Safety Hiring/Firing Competition Fun Users Miscellaneous Presentation CrashOverride 5G Wireless Technology Emergency Marketing IP Address Customer Service Mobile Office Domains Hard Drives Public Speaking