When it comes to email, millions of users opt for online email accounts such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail. Since these are free email accounts, it is easy to see why many choose them.
However, last fall all three were hacked. All three were targets of large-scale phishing campaigns. This brings up a good point, email security.
First, let’s make sure everyone knows the meaning of phishing.
Webopedia defines phishing as follows:
(fish´ing) (n.) The act of sending an e-mail to a user falsely claiming to be an established legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft.
The phishers hack into email accounts to retrieve passwords and send messages that look as if they are coming directly from you! All of these providers immediately forced password resets.
This is what I would recommend. While it is ok to use these online email options, the best option is to have an email program, like Microsoft Outlook installed and setup on your computer. If that is not an option and you must use webmail, be diligent in changing your password often. I actually would recommend changing the password once a week. You heard me, once a week! I know everyone is saying, “but I have so many passwords to remember!” Passwords are there for a reason, use them!
Here is how to change your password on the “big three.”
In the upper right corner, click on “Settings.”
Click on the “Accounts and Import” Tab and then click on “Google Account Settings.”
Finally, click on “Change Password” next to “Security.”
Click on “Options” in the upper right corner and click on “More Options.”
Click on “View and Edit your personal information” under the Manage your Account Settings area.
Hotmail will have you verify your account by retyping your password.
Sign in and click the “Change” link to the right of your password.
Click on the drop down arrow next to your name (i.e. “Hi, User”) and choose “Account Info.”
As with Hotmail, you must verify your account by retyping your password and signing in.
Next, on the “Account Info” Tab, click on “Change Password.”
Each of these programs will ask users to type in their existing password and then type a new password and retype the new password to confirm you have typed it correctly.
Again, online email security is an ongoing threat. Use it wisely and change your password often.
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