In today’s age, the security of business emails is critical, But personal ones are too, why? With email being one of the most pervasive communication tools used in the business world, it’s no surprise that hackers are constantly looking for ways to gain access to your email accounts. While your business may invest heavily in securing an email system, more often than not, personal email accounts are not given the same level of thought when it comes to protecting access. As businesspeople we should all be just as concerned about personal email hacking as we are for business email hacking. The potential consequences are the same, and in some cases worse.
Personal email accounts contain a wealth of information about you. That information may include things like login credentials, financial information, medical information, sensitive personal conversations, etc. A hacker who gains access to your personal email account can use this information to steal your identity, perform financial fraud, empty bank accounts, and more. Remember your email often contains sensitive information about your personal and professional life, more specifically, passwords and login credentials. That information in the hands of a hacker will get them access to many parts of your day to day activities and life.
Businesspeople are especially vulnerable to personal email hacking, as we often have confidential business information that can be accessed through our personal email accounts. It could include emails related to client relationships, company financials, intellectual property, and other sensitive information. How many times do we forward information to our personal email for review later? The impact of a personal email breach can be devastating, leading to things such as lost clients, damaged reputation, and legal actions.
Another thing is a that a personal email accounts are often used as a backup or recovery email for business accounts. Again, if a hacker gains access to a personal email account, they can use that to reset passwords for business accounts, and now they have access to sensitive business information. This is why as businesspeople, we need to take the security of our personal email accounts seriously. Just as much attention and thought that is used to secure your business email accounts, needs to be applied to your personal accounts.
So, what can you do?
There are several steps that we can take to protect our personal email accounts.
- First and foremost, use strong, unique passwords for your personal email accounts. Next and even more crucially, change them regularly! Yes, it makes it just as painful and annoying as your business IT team make it for you at work, but remember, they do it for a reason.
- Second, you should be using a service that has two-factor authentication (2FA) for your personal email accounts. If you don’t know what 2FA is, take a look here. Using this type of service adds an extra layer of security to your account(s) and helps prevent unauthorized access.
- Third, you need to be cautious, pause and think before clicking on any links or downloading attachments from unfamiliar people or sources. Hackers count on you to not be alert, or aware. They use this as a common tactic to gain access to accounts.
A little bonus for you,..
If you want to check to see if your personal email address was part of any breach you can check it at “‘;–have i been pwned?” a site created by Troy Hunt. This is a free service and will let you know if your email address was gathered.
So, remember, personal email accounts are just as vulnerable to hacking as business email accounts. We all need take the security of our personal email accounts just as seriously as you do for your business email. The consequences of a personal email hack can be devastating, leading to what I mentioned at the beginning of this article… lost clients, damaged reputation, and legal actions. By taking steps to protect your personal email accounts, you can ensure that you are keeping both your personal and professional lives secure.