5 ways to make your inbox safer
Posted on August 25 2015
There are two types of people in the world: people who have one email address and use it for absolutely everything, and people (like me) who have a personal address, a work address, an address for memberships and newsletters, an address for online shopping, and so on. Every now and then I think about how much information lives in my various Inboxes, hidden in the body text of emails long forgotten. Usernames, passwords, addresses, names, phone numbers and even account numbers have taken up residence in my Inbox over time. If someone were to access any of my accounts, they could very easily steal my identity or use my credentials to commit fraud.
Fortunately, I have a little system for keeping my Inbox (and my online safety) in check. Here are 5 ways to make your Inbox safer:
1 Take the trash out
This is a no-brainer, but taking 2 minutes out of your day each week to delete the emails you don’t need anymore makes a difference, especially if these emails contain personal or otherwise sensitive information. Don’t forget to empty your Trash, and double check to make sure you deleted whole conversations, not just one or two messages within a thread.
2 Save it for later
If you have a work email address, chances are you can ‘archive’ the conversations that you no longer need but shouldn’t delete. Archiving is like moving your messages into a filing cabinet, so that you can search for them later. They are removed from your Inbox, but not from your account entirely. Archiving is especially useful if you use your work address for incidental personal reasons.
3 Get a system going
Sorting your emails into folders segments the data contained in them, making intruders and attackers work harder to find your information. Paired with archiving, a really good and highly personal filing system ‘hides’ your personal information without making it impossible for you to retrieve later.
4 Separate Church & State
This is another no-brainer, but you generally shouldn’t use the one email address for absolutely everything. The logic here is the same as above - segmenting your data makes it harder to piece together a full picture of who you are. If you use one account for everything, an intruder can work out where you shop, where you work, what you read, where you live, who you socialise with, etcetera - and they can build a pretty convincing profile of you based on that information.
Having multiple email addresses isn’t hard work either. It takes 30 seconds to enter them into your Safedome app, which will scan them regularly and let you know if your passwords or login details have been compromised. Too easy.
5 Look both ways
Lastly, it’s important to remember that security is a two-way street. It’s important to watch what comes into your Inbox (yes, phishing emails are still a thing) but me mindful of what goes out, and lives in your Sent folder. Maybe you’ve emailed someone your contact details after having met them at a conference? Or maybe you quickly sent your bank details to your friend so they could pay you back for lunch? All of that information lives in your email - and in the recipient’s. And you can’t control their security settings.
Being proactive and empowered is the key to staying safe online and looking out for your identity. With these tips and your Safedome app, you’ll be a cut above the rest.