Zendesk, a provider of cloud based customer service software for storing, organizing and answering emails, yesterday reported that a hacker had gained access to their servers. Key clients of Zendesk that were affected by this attack include Tumblr, Pinterest and Twitter. Customer email addresses of these 3 clients were stolen according to the Zendesk blog. While this data is not as valuable as credit card or bank account information, it definitely offers opportunity for spam and phishing attacks.
This breach is yet another reminder of our vulnerability on the cyberspace. One consideration would be to protect our email accounts. Below are 6 tips for protecting your email account.
We give out email addresses only too readily. However, the only security requirement for accessing our accounts is a password. Weak passwords give hackers easy access to vulnerable email accounts, giving them full control of the use and contents of the account. Ensure that your password is strong. Use numeric and alpha numeric characters, a combination of upper and lower case, and symbols. Tips for creating strong passwords.
If you have to access your email from a public PC, be sure to log off your account before leaving. You may even want to change your password after having accessed your email from a public PC.
Ensure that the connection to your email account is secure. Most secure connections will include https in the web address as well as the correct name of your provider (eg Google.com).
Be alert for any unusual tabs or folders in your account. Regularly check the Sent folder and Contact list for any questionable entries.
Gmail users can consider using a higher level security known as the two-step verification. Signing in to the email account would involve both the use of a regular password and (periodically) a code that arrives on your phone.
It’s often advisable to have multiple email addresses. Use one address for confidential correspondences and the other accounts for online purchases etc.