Would you want the contents of your email account, business or personal, out there in the public domain? Probably not. Email is a personal form of communication that we use for personal or work reasons, and as such, it can contain sensitive information about ourselves, clients, finances, and operations. And, just as you wouldn’t leave a diary or unopened mail out for anybody to read, you also need to take precautions to ensure that your email account is as safe and secure as possible.

With incidents of email hacking becoming more common, and an estimated 70% of all email traffic taken up by spam, it has never been more critical to make sure you are using secure email services. Below are seven top tips for ensuring your emails are only seen by the people you want them to be.

Password Protection

Even the most secure email services can be compromised if passwords are not kept safe or are too weak to deter attacks. Cracking a password is the easiest and cleanest way for a scammer to get into your account undetected, so make sure they are strong (never anything generic like 123456, etc.) and change them regularly or if you think they have been compromised.

Two Factor Authentication

This is the process of using a password in combination with another form of identity verification. Most often, this is in the form of a code sent by SMS to a phone linked to the account. Both password and code need to be entered within a limited time window to get access. This is a quick and easy way to add a strong layer of security to your access point.

Keep Virus Protection Up to Date

Either check manually or run a scan on your computer regularly using trusted anti-virus software. Remove anything that looks suspicious and make sure you are always up to date with security updates on your operating system.

Be Aware of Phishing Scams

Phishing is one of the most common ways scammers access and steal information from your account. The con works by sending you emails that offer bait, encouraging you to click on a link or input a password which the scammers then use to access your account. Knowing how these hustles work and what to look for can help you avoid falling into the trap.

Don’t Open Attachments Unless You Are Sure

Often these come as part of a phishing scam but opening attachments without being sure of their contents can prove to be a disaster. Unless you are absolutely 100% sure the attachment is secure, it is a good idea to use anti-malware or anti-virus software to scan them first.

Don’t Use Public WiFi

While convenient when on the go, using a public WiFi connection can invite scammers to gain access to your accounts. It’s always better to use mobile Internet or toggle from your phone. It may not be as fast, but it will be much more secure than a public connection.

Always Log Out

Of course, always remember to log out of your account when done. You never know what might happen when you are not at your computer, so taking the safe option and logging out can help to protect your account and promote good habits.