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Securing Your Email

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June 24, 2013 – Comments (0)

Board: Macro Economics

Author: hawaiifiveoh

Due to the recent NSA/PRISM insights provided by Mr. Snowden, online security is a hot topic of discussion. I want to share one major area where you can significantly improve your private information. Email.

I've met many people who use ironclad passwords for their bank accounts and brokerages, but the simplest passwords for their email. You should be doing the very opposite. Why? Because what happens when you click on the, "I forgot my username/password" link on most websites? They email you a new password. Someone who compromises your email potentially has the ability to compromise all of your other accounts.

The first thing you should do is pick a strong password that consists of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. The second thing you should do is enable two factor authentication.

2FA adds an additional step to the login process. Typically you'll see these on your bank websites, it will likely present you with a unique picture and/or phrase that you have chosen. If it's an unrecognized computer, it will ask you a security question you have previously chosen.

For email (such as Gmail), 2FA will text message you a unique one-time access code, which must be inputted in addition to your password. What this means is a potential thief would not only have to have compromised your password but also have possession of your cell phone. To enable 2FA on Gmail, you can visit the following link:

https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/180744?hl=en

For other email services, a Google search should provide you with a tutorial. Google also offers an app called Google Authenticator, which can be used with certain websites.

Cyber-thieves typically go after the low hanging fruit. A strong password combined with 2FA will most likely make all but the most persistent thieves move on to another target. I strongly suggest you have 2FA enabled on any website that carries your personal and/or financial information, especially email.

~H50

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