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How to Effectively Protect Your Gmail Account

How to Effectively Protect Your Gmail Account

Email is a necessary evil in our society. Although you may text and chat with your friends and family, you have to communicate via email in the business world. With such sensitive information in your inbox, and your account being accessible via multiple devices, you should take the security of your email account very seriously.

If you are using Gmail by Google, here are some tips on how to effectively protect your account, and all of your valuable information.

1. Keep your account updated

Google has a variety of useful security options. Input your mobile phone number to receive text alerts whenever anyone signs in on a device you haven’t specifically listed or uses an incorrect password. You can also input a recovery email address for the same purpose.

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Gmail also allows you to log in with an alternate email address as well, in the event you forget your username or password, although I find this step to be more of a liability than a security feature.

2. Use a strong password

I know it’s a pain, and I get that you’re inundated with logins from work and home. I live in the same world you do, but the reality is that you need to use different passwords for every account. Your email account should be the strongest one, because it’s where all your other password recovery options are sent to. It should have a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

It’s easier than it sounds. If you want your password to be “password,” simply make a few adjustments, and you can use pa55Word!, Pa55word!, or P@ssW0rd. That’s three separate passwords using the most common (and worst) password you can use.

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This is for your own protection. Otherwise, if a hacker gets your password from the Target or Sony data breaches, he can access your email, bank account, and everything else in your life. Everything is suddenly insecure because of some hacker breaking into a video game or retail store’s network…savvy?

3. Activate two-step authentication

Passwords are like locks on a door–they keeps you safe to the point that someone wants to use brute force to gain entry. In these cases, security systems like ADT are helpful for your home. For your email, this comes in the form of two-step authentication.

When you activate two-step authentication and download the Google Authenticator app on your smartphone or tablet, you’ll be asked to enter a code from the app every time you log in to your email account. This means that the only way someone can access your account is with access to your device (and knowledge of the authenticator app). You can also generate ten keys at a time to use when you don’t have access to your phone.

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4. Protect your devices

In case you haven’t noticed, the majority of these security options assume you have your phone. Unfortunately, your phone is likely to be lost or stolen. If someone takes your phone, they’ll have full access to anything in your email, as you likely don’t have it set to force you to log in each time you access it. The security of the device is vital at this point

Password protect your devices. In the event a device is lost or stolen, ensure you deactivate/track it remotely using Android Device Manager, Find My iPhone, or a third party app, such as Lookout. Also, log in to your email from a computer and migrate your security options away from that phone.

5. Secure your connection

Gmail automatically defaults to a secure HTTPS connection, but that’s not enough for me. You don’t have to go through the process of encrypting your email, but I’d recommend it. It’s the difference between sending a postcard, and a letter in a sealed envelope. Your account is secure either way, but with encryption your messages are secure while transmitting to other accounts.

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I access my email through Thunderbird, a free email app from Mozilla (the makers of Firefox). This allows me to pull the emails off Google’s servers and on to my local hard drive. In addition, I’m able to encrypt my email with a PGP extension prior to it even hitting Google’s servers. Some people I know even reroute emails through various forums to ensure they’re untraceable.

6. Use common sense

You can build the most secure email system in the world, but it’s still only as secure as the end-user. If you click random links in your email, you’ll compromise your account. If you write your passwords down, you’re compromising your account. You are in charge of keeping your account secure.

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Last Updated on August 29, 2018

5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun

Journaling is one of the most useful personal development tools around. Not only does it help us process emotions and experiences, work through internal conflicts and improve our self-awareness, it also provides us with a way to keep a day-to-day record of our lives. Traditionally an activity limited to pen and paper, the expansion of consumer technology has enabled journaling to go digital.

Saving your journaling entries online enables you to access them from anywhere, without having to carry a notebook and pen around, and provides you with digital features, like tagging and search functions.

Here are a list of five online journaling tools you can use to bring your practice into the modern age:

1. 750words

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750 words

    750words is a free online journaling tool created by Buster Benson. The site is based on the idea of “Morning Pages”; a journaling tool Julia Cameron suggests in her creativity course The Artist’s Way. Cameron advises aspiring creatives to start each morning with three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing to clear away the mental clutter, leaving you with a clearer mind to face the day.

    750 words is the three-page digital equivalent (assuming the average person writes 250 words per page) and lets you store all your journaling online. Each morning, you’ll receive a prompt asking you to write your 750 words, and the site keeps track of various statistics associated with your entries. The site uses a Regressive Imagery Dictionary to calculate the emotional content from your posts and provides feedback on features like your mood, and most commonly used words.

    750 words is simple to set up and is ideal for anyone who finds it challenging to maintain a consistent journaling practice. The site uses a number of incentives to motivate users, including animal badges awarded to journalers who complete a certain number of days in a row, leader boards, and opt-in monthly challenges.

    2. Ohlife

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    ohlife

      Ohlife is designed to make online journaling as easy as possible. Once you’ve signed up for your free account, the website will send you an email each day asking “How did your day go?” Simply reply to the email with as much or as little detail as you like, and your response will be stored on your account, ready to view next time you log in.

      Ohlife’s appeal lies in its simplicity: no stats, no social sharing, no complicated organisational systems—the site is designed to provide you with a private, online space. Simply respond to the email each day (or skip the days you’re busy) and Ohlife will do the rest.

      3. Oneword

      oneword

        OneWord is a fun online tool that provides you with a single word as a prompt and gives you sixty seconds to write about it. The concept’s aim is to help writers learn how to flow, and the prompts range from the everyday mundane to the profound.

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        Oneword is not a private journaling tool: if you sign up, your answers will be published on the site’s daily blog, which contains a stream of users’ answers, and might be used by Oneword in the future. If you’d rather keep your answers to yourself, you can still use the tool for fun without giving out any personal details.

        4. Penzu

          Penzu is a journaling tool that allows you to store your journaling notes online. The service also offers mobile apps for iOS, Android and Blackberry, so you can journal on the go and save your notes to your account. The basic service is free, however you can upgrade to Penzu Pro and get access to additional features, including military-grade encryption and the ability to save and sync data through your mobile, for $19 per year.

          With either version of Penzu, you can insert pictures, and add tags and comments to entries, as well as search for older entries. You can set your posts to be private and viewable by you only, or share them with others.

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          5. Evernote

          Evernote isn’t a purpose-built journaling tool, however its features make it perfect for keeping your journaling notes in one safe place. With the ability to keep separate “notebooks”, tag your entries, include pictures, audio and web clipping, Evernote will appeal to journalers who want to include more formats than just text in their entries.

          Available online within a web browser, and as a stand-alone desktop app, the service also comes with a series of mobile apps covering almost every device available. These allow you to make notes on the go and sync between the mobile and browser versions of the app.

          For additional features, including text recognition and the ability to collaborate on Notebooks, you can upgrade to Evernote’s premium service, which costs $5 per month.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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