Although email has become an everyday form of communication, many internet users do not understand that the email system itself is very insecure. Any email message that isn’t encrypted can be intercepted and accessed by an intruder. If this is not scary enough, there is also a large number of unscrupulous individuals looking to break into email accounts and thieve whatever sensitive information they find. The best defense you can employ against an email hacker is creating a strong password for your account, to prevent ‘brute force’ (automated password guessing) attempts.
Don’t Make it Easy
While this goes without saying, the password for your email account should be easy for you to remember, yet difficult for an intruder to guess. Easy does not mean using the name of your child or your favorite color. In theory, a strong password is something out of the ordinary that throws an attacker off track. This is extremely important when considering all the advanced hacking tools on the market.
Long and Complex
Intruders are very sophisticated these days, thus, you must remain just as creative in order to stay safe. The password for your email account should be no shorter than eight characters and also consist of a mix of characters. This means incorporating capital letters, numbers and symbols. The more unusual the password, the harder you make it for a hacker to figure out.
If you’re stumped and simply can’t think of a strong password, you may want to get some help. One option you have is using an online password generator. These services are incredibly easy to use and very effective. Simply enter a password into the form and the system automatically generates a random password by replacing your entries with other values. Keep in mind that it is still best to make your password as secure as possible even when using a generator. A simple Google search for ‘password generator’ will yield many random password generators.
Another option you have for creating strong email passwords is special software. KeePass is one such program that acts as a password manager, allowing you to manage your passwords in a simple and secure fashion. Simply enter all of your passwords into a single database and they are locked with single key. All you have to do is remember a single master password or unlock the database with a decryption key. Keeping intruders out of your email account is a must. While your day-to-day email communications may not be top secret, someone can easily reset and gain passwords to your other online accounts if they have access to your email account.
Stay tuned for our upcoming article featuring LastPass, a multi-platform browser based password manager that automatically logs you into websites with the click of a button.