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We’re always reading about new phishing scams, hackers posting email user names and passwords online, and have even received the occasional email from a friend that begins “I’m not stranded on the streets of Paris with no money after my wallet and passport were stolen. Don’t send money — somebody hacked into my Hotmail account and sent that bogus plea to all my contacts…”

So how do you protect yourself?

Well, first, choose good passwords and password retrieval questions. Lifehacker posted these tips a while ago. Personally, I  like the mixture of upper and lowercase letters, with random symbols thrown in, for my passwords. And I use a variety of “standard lies” for my  password retrieval questions. Anybody who knows me would know my actual favorite sports team or my mother’s maiden name.  But the answer to those question when I’m retrieving a password would be impossible to guess.

Having a unique password for all your accounts is a good idea, but can get really hard to keep track of. There are free programs out there that help you manage your passwords, which can be useful in making all your online accounts, not just your email, more secure.

That’s a step in the right direction in protecting your inbox from hackers. But what about spam, scams, and Trojan horses? There are some very basic things to remember that will help:

  • Don’t open email from unknown sources
  • Don’t open attachments in emails from unknown sources
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true — it IS!

I have to say that these all seem like common sense to me. But apparently enough people fall victim to the scams based on these actions that it needs to be repeated again and again.

There will probably always be new ways for baddies to try to get into your inbox. Be proactive in how you set up your accounts, and think before you click on those messages from strangers, and you should be safe from the hackers, phishers, and jerks who are lurking in cyberspace.

http://lifehacker.com/5051905/how-to-protect-your-email-from-hackers

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