Why privacy may be compromised when using mail
There are different methods through which you could gather information when we use the mail. One of them is to get our name and surname when logging in to sites where we put the e-mail address. It is common that when we open a program or when entering a page they allow us to log in directly with our Gmail account, for example. They are automatically receiving certain personal information.
Another way is through a mail that they send us. In it they can send attachments that we download and they can be Trojans capable of stealing information, viruses that infect the computer, keyloggers that can steal passwords … In addition, even links in the same emails can lead us to pages where they request personal data and we believe that we are facing something legitimate but it is not.
On the other hand, there is also the risk that our email address be made public. Normally this happens if there has been a leak in the provider we use, such as Gmail, Outlook or the one we use, but especially if we have put the address in an open forum or web page where anyone can access.
Steps to protect email privacy
After seeing that our privacy may be at risk if we make mistakes when using the mail, we are going to give some tips so that this does not happen. The goal is that personal information is always protected, preventing our data from being stolen when sending or receiving an e-mail.
Do not make the address public
The first thing is the most basic and essential of all: not make mistakes. It may happen that we need to solve a problem and look for information in a forum and unconsciously leave the public address so that anyone can see it. The same would happen if we put a comment on a web page.
This could allow a marketing company or even a cybercriminal to include us in spam lists or send us an e-mail with the aim of stealing more personal data, tracking us and infecting the computer.
Of course you also have to be careful with links we receive in any mail. Shortened links can be especially dangerous, since they are links much shorter than they would be originally and serve precisely to hide a strange address that can set off alarms.
Through a link we could end up on a web page that has been designed to steal information. For example, a Phishing website where we are going to find a section to log in but our data goes directly to the attackers. This logically puts privacy at risk and should be avoided.
Never download attachments without security
Something similar must be taken into account when we are going to download an attachment that we receive in the mail. It is another of the techniques that can put our data at risk when using email. An attacker can send a Word, PDF, or even an image file and contain malware.
That malware it can be very varied as well. On the main issue that concerns us, which is privacy and preventing the theft of information, keyloggers capable of collecting the passwords that we enter could sneak in and steal the e-mail password. Also spyware, which are computer programs designed to spy on users.
How can we safely lower them? The first thing is to actually verify the source of that message and see that it is from a legitimate user. We must always download files when we trust the sender. But in addition, it is essential to have a good antivirus that protects us and can analyze the files to find threats. For example we can name Windows Defender, Avast, Bitdefender …
Use a reliable provider
Are we using a mail provider that protects data and information? This is also essential. We have many options available, but not all of them are going to keep privacy the same. Some examples of reliable suppliers and that maintain privacy very well are ProtonMail, Tutanota and Mailfence.
These providers that we have named, as well as others that although they are not specific to the security and privacy They will work very well like Gmail and Outlook, they will allow us to avoid tracking. For example, if we receive an email that contains a one-pixel image, which is a method of knowing if we have opened an email or not, it will block it. This is something that many marketing companies use to collect information from users through a tiny, unnoticeable image.
Protect your account and computer
Another point to take into account to avoid being tracked when using e-mail or that privacy is at stake is to protect the security of both the account and the equipment that we are using. The latter includes any computer, mobile, tablet …
It will be essential to have a good password that prevents the entry of intruders. This key must be unique, totally random and contain everything necessary for it to be considered strong: have letters (uppercase and lowercase), use numbers and also other symbols such as $,%, & … For example, a good key would be: 4% kR -8ts) -83.
Regarding how to protect the computer, beyond having a good antivirus we must also have the updated system. You have to have the latest versions to avoid problems that can be exploited by hackers.
Therefore, it is important to maintain privacy when using email. We have seen what we can take into account to avoid being tracked and that personal information is at risk. This will allow us to use the mail with total security.