Power4Patriots Offers 3 Ways to Thwart Email Hackers

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The same Internet that brings instant access to nearly unlimited information also enables hackers to spy on people and steal their personal and financial data. They can figure out which websites people are visiting, what they’re spending money on and much more, but there are ways to stop these email hackers in their tracks.

An email account is often the gateway to everything else in one’s life, so a password should be strong enough to bar the door.

Computers are wonderful things that have made people’s lives easier in many ways. But what was once thought to be a simple monitor screen that people could be alone with has turned into an intrusively scary two-way mirror. Some email hackers want to learn about people’s lifestyles, likes, dislikes and habits so that they can more effectively sell them things, while other hackers have more sinister motives, wishing to corral financial information.    

Best known for teaching people how to build their own environmentally-friendly sources of energy so that they can slash their power bills and be safe when power outages occur, Power4Patriots also wants to help people keep their email safe from hackers.

Following are Power4Patriots’ 3 ways to thwart email hackers:

1.    Passwords. This is how a significant percentage of people get hacked. It’s not the fault of Yahoo or other Internet providers; most of the time it’s the user’s fault. People use simple passwords and hackers take advantage of that with tools that will try the top 500 most commonly used words to get in. The main rule is, the longer and more complicated, the better. An email account is often the gateway to everything else in one’s life, so a password should be strong enough to bar the door. It’s recommended to use both upper and lower case letters, plus numbers and symbols. Also, it’s very important to use different passwords for different accounts. If hackers figure out a password to one account, they will try it on others.

2.    Security questions. Increasingly, scammers are conducting web research on people (on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), then going to common email services and clicking the “recover password” feature. Using information they’ve learned from their research, such as people’s places of birth and the names of their pets, they sometimes reset passwords and freeze out account holders. To prevent this, choose the most obscure and difficult security questions to answer, use fake answers to those questions, and make those answers very difficult to guess. Also, turn on all social media privacy settings.

3.    Be careful with email addresses. Handing an email address out to anyone and everyone can be an invitation to the bad guys. If hackers see that someone’s email address is (their name)@comcast.net, for example, they know that the person has a Comcast account and they may be able to hack it and gain billing information. When visiting a website that asks for an email address, use a disposable email address that can be acquired free of charge at sites such as http://www.10minutemail.com. An email address is a huge part of one’s identity, so it needs to be treated as such.

Look for more tips and tricks for protecting privacy at a new website launching in the first quarter of 2013 at Privacy4Patriots.

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Frank Bates
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