Simple tips to safeguard your emailSave
Many people are still not taking routine precautions to safeguard their email accounts - and hackers are exploiting that.
According to U.S. officials who filed charges in a massive Yahoo break-in, Russian hackers didn't have to work very hard to break into people's email accounts, even those belonging to government officials or powerful executives.
You can make yourself less of a target. There are a few simple ways to help safeguard your email account from hackers.
Don't reuse passwords
Many online break-ins result when people have reused a password across, say, their email, social and financial accounts. If it's compromised at any one of those services, the others are suddenly vulnerable.
One simple way to avoid this problem is to start with a base password you can remember, and then add on letters and numbers that reference where you're using it. If your base password is "greatsurfer2017" (which isn't particularly secure; more on that in a moment), you could make "greatsurfer2017Y" your Yahoo password, and "greatsurfer2017G" your Google password.
If you can't be bothered to do more, this is a base level of security that can help shield you from the most obvious threats. But it's still only a baby step.
Pick a stronger password
You can make things harder for attackers by making your base password stronger. The more complicated and lengthy a password is, the harder it will be for hackers to guess.
The downside: Tougher passwords are also harder to remember. But there are some ways around that.
Don't include your kids' names, birthdays or references to any other personal details. Hackers routinely troll Facebook and Twitter for clues to passwords like these. Obvious and default passwords such as "Password123" are also bad, as are words commonly found in dictionaries, as these are used in programs hackers have to automate guesses.
You can make your own strong passwords with randomly capitalised nonsense words interspersed with numbers and characters - like, say, "giLLy31!florp." (Just don't use that one now that it's appeared in this story.) So long as you're making up the words yourself, these are difficult for hackers to crack - and they're easier to remember than you might think, though you might want to practice them a few times.