Has your email account ever been hacked? If not, prepare for the worst.
In the recent past, spammers used phony email addresses to do their dirty work. They would use fictitious information to open phony accounts with no other purpose than spamming our legit email accounts. Now that the world is smarter and wiser, spammers have had to find another route.
The other route would be taking over your email account. You see, if a spammer can take over your email account, then he can bypass spam filters because he’s using a legitimate email address. Another plus – he might already have some email address to spam thanks to the names on your contact list.
If you’ve never been the victim of a hacked email account, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Stay alert by protecting yourself with the basic truth that every email user should know: a great password.
Your choice of a password is very, very important. Did I say very? Let me say extremely. After all, your password is your only means of keeping criminals from accessing your private correspondence. Because of its importance, you should choose a password that would give a hacker a headache to try to decipher. Sophisticated software makes a cinch out of common or easy passwords, so stay far away from passwords like "Sally82" or "123usa". Instead, choose a password that reminds you of the word “medley.”
A medley is a mixture or assortment of various things. Your password should be exactly that – a mixture. Use upper and lower cases, vowels and consonants, numbers and letters. In some circumstances, symbols are not allowed as part of your password, but when you can, throw in a few random symbols too. Here’s an example of a great password:
My favorite style of password is the unpronounceable, like the one above. Unless you have a stellar memory, though, it will definitely be necessary to keep your password in written form. I don’t recommend keeping it on your PC, instead, keep a cheat sheet on your desk. Even a Sticky Note right on your monitor works great. Just keep it simple. Jot down the name of the website or email address, the current password, and the date you created the password. Make sure to change your password every few months. For online banking, I’d even recommend changing your password once a month.
Don’t stop with creating a hard-to-crack password. It’s also good practice to use a different password for different accounts. If you’re anything like the average Internet user, you probably have dozens of accounts all over the Web. That means you could end up having a list of fifty passwords! To avoid password overload, just focus on the more important accounts. Think about your favorite email account, your online banking, trade or auction accounts. Focus on protecting the accounts that matter the most to you.