The biggest security threat to the average person are emails with links to secure websites. When your bank sends you a link to check your checking or savings account balance, you should immediately be suspicious. How do you know the email is really from your bank? The answer is – you don’t know! Most email systems don’t validate sender / receiver identities. This means anyone can you send you an email with a link to a secure website. That link may take you to a website that looks like your bank’s website when in fact it may be a look-a-like website designed to get you to enter your secure login and password credentials. Hackers will then take your user id and password and use it to access your secure accounts and steal your money or identity.
So, how do you protect yourself? Never, ever, ever click on a link in an email! Instead open your browser by clicking on a web browser icon (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Edge) from your desktop or menu list. Type in the address you know to be your bank website, then and only then, enter your login id and password. This is the only way you can be sure that you are logging in to a legitimate website.
Resisting the urge (and convenience) of clicking on a link. Instead, take the time to key in the website address of your bank, healthcare provider or other secure data provider. Email can be sent securely once logged in to your secure provider site. There are many secure email providers, but these programs and services are not the most user friendly systems and rely on both the sender/receiver being signed up for the service. Most secure email systems use some type of encryption to ensure that email arrives with identity of the sender and integrity of the message, intact. Check out https://www.lifewire.com/best-secure-email-services-4136763 for more information on secure email services.
Copyright Angela F. Kern 2018.