Following the startling highjacking of Sue Garforth’s email account recently, many people are thinking about the safety of their own email. The following are some tips on how you can protect yourself. There is a lot of information on the web that goes into more detail. These days one’s email account is a critical service. So it is worth being careful.
Some of the elements of good practice are:
1. Have a good password and only use it once. Everyone knows this, but it is difficult when one has so many passwords to keep track of. A good method to remember one or two most important passwords is to think of a sentence that is easy for you to remember and the password is the first letter of each word. For example: “In Athens we paid 3 $ for 9 loaves and 2 fish”. The password is: iAwp3$f9la2f. If you are prepared to invest some time to make the problem go away, get a password manager app. Best ones are Dashlane, LastPass and 1Password.
2. Only use an email service that has two-step verification. This means that if you change your password or make any significant alteration to your email service, a number is sent to your phone or email that you enter to verify that you are the owner of the account. Sue had this facility and has regained access to her account. Yet to be determined if it is safe though.
I think that having a large and well known email provider is important. In case things go wrong, go to your email and look for the help functions to report what has happened. Large services like Gmail are very responsive to reports of fraud or hacking.
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