Where technology plays an integral role in our daily lives, it’s becoming increasingly common for personal email addresses to be readily accessible and searchable on the internet. This widespread accessibility, while convenient in many ways, can give rise to legitimate concerns about the privacy and security of our personal information.
Email Account Breach
One possible reason for experiencing security issues with your email account is that it may have been compromised in a data breach. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in cybercriminal activities targeting databases containing email addresses and passwords.
These cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities in security systems and gain unauthorised access to sensitive information. Suppose your email account credentials are included in one of these breaches. In that case, your personal information could end up being published online, potentially exposing you to identity theft and other fraudulent activities. Therefore, it is crucial to stay vigilant and regularly update your passwords to protect your email account and personal data from such breaches.
Common Ways Email Addresses End Up Online
Online Directories may include email addresses as part of their listings. This can occur if you have previously provided your email address to these directories or if your email address has been publicly available through other means, such as social media profiles or online forums.
When you make a purchase online, your email address may be needed for order confirmation or communication purposes. This ensures that you receive updates about your order and allows the seller to contact you if necessary. It’s important to note that in some cases, this information may be visible to the seller or other parties involved in the transaction, ensuring a smooth and reliable purchasing experience. For this reason, having a different email account for online shopping and one for banking can be something to consider.
One possible reason for experiencing security issues with your email account is that it may have been compromised in a data breach. Cybercriminals often target databases containing email addresses and passwords and exploit vulnerabilities in security systems to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information.
For instance, hackers often target databases that contain email addresses and passwords, which can be used to hijack accounts and gain unauthorised access to personal data. It’s essential to take all necessary measures to secure your email account to prevent such incidents from happening.
If you forward an email to someone else or reply to an email that was sent to a large group of people, your email address may be visible to other recipients. This may occur because when you reply to an email, the email software often defaults to “reply all,” which means that your email address and the email addresses of other recipients will be visible to everyone who receives the email.
Additionally, when you forward an email, the original sender’s email address and the email addresses of any individuals included in the original email chain will also be visible to the recipient.
Considering this can be an easy yet dangerous mistake, it is vital to be cautious when sending emails and double-check the recipient list before sending the message. This can help prevent any unintended disclosure of your email address, which could lead to unwanted consequences such as spam or phishing emails. By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your email address remains confidential and secure and that your personal information is protected.
When users fill out online forms that require them to enter their email addresses, there is a risk of data leaks. This can occur due to a number of reasons, such as if the website owner does not properly secure the data or if the website is hacked. In such cases, the sensitive information entered by the user, including their email address, can fall into the hands of malicious actors who can misuse it for their own purposes. As such, website owners need to take appropriate measures to safeguard user data and ensure that their online forms are secure.
Considering this, ensure that the site you are on is reputable and secure. This can be done by ensuring the site has a padlock and is authenticated with a certificate with the URL starting with HTTPS. Alternatively, you can view Google’s Transparency Report page, which features a search bar to check whether a site is deemed as unsafe by Google.
Effectively Managing and Securing Your Email Address
If you have read the above, the most common issues can be very severe. A fundamental step you can take to secure your email address is to establish a strong and unique password. Avoid using common or easily guessable passwords such as your birthdate or “123456”. Instead, opt for a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Another way is to enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your email account. By enabling this feature, you will receive a verification code on your mobile device or email whenever you log in from an unrecognised device or location. This ensures that even if someone obtains your password, they still need the additional verification code to access your account.
Finally, be Cautious of Phishing Attempts. Phishing attacks are a standard method used by cybercriminals to gain unauthorised access to your email account. Be vigilant and avoid clicking on suspicious links or opening attachments from unknown senders. Always double-check the email address and content before providing any sensitive information.