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How to keep your emails private and secure

If you aren't careful, messages could be intercepted

Email is one of the most widely used forms of communication today. However, your message could be intercepted midstream, and you might never realise it. Here are some steps that will secure and protect your email messages.

Secure your email: Protecting web-based email

Web-based email has the advantage of being available virtually anywhere, any time, and from any device that can get on the web. It also comes with some additional security and privacy concerns, though.

On any PC, but particularly on a shared or public PC - such as one in a hotel or library - make sure you log out of the web-mail client. Forgetting to actually sign out could allow the next user who comes along to access your email account.

Web browsers maintain a history of visited sites, and a cache of browser data that help them load frequently visited pages more quickly. The history and cache may also inadvertently expose your email messages. When you are done using your webmail, you can go into the settings for the browser and clear out the cache.

Better yet, use private browsing. The most popular web browsers - such as Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome - have an option to surf the web using a private or anonymous mode. When you use the private browsing mode, your entire session is more secure, since no data is retained in the history or cache.

Whether on a shared computer or your own PC, another suggestion is to use an alternate browser. For example, if the default browser for the PC is Internet Explorer, use Firefox, Chrome or some other browser just for your webmail. That way, if someone else uses the system, they will likely use the default browser, so using a different browser will reduce the chances of exposing or compromising your email account.

NEXT PAGE: Encrypt your email

  1. Messages can be intercepted
  2. Protecting web-based email
  3. Encrypt your email
  4. After you hit send

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