How to keep your email protected and safeguard your sensitive data

Keeping your email protected from unauthorized access and malicious parties isn’t as hard as it may seem. Learn how to shield your account in a few easy steps.
Skiff Mail and lock security badge.
Despite the continuous evolution of instant messaging apps, email is an irreplaceable part of our daily communication. It’s also the one we use to share lots of private information, so comprehensive security measures are crucial for ensuring confidentiality.This article will provide actionable advice on keeping your email protected from third parties and staying safe online. You’ll learn:
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Types of email attacks you must protect yourself from

Email is the most common vector for cyberattacks, with business accounts being at the highest risk. The number of phishing attacks peaked in Q3 2022, and hackers are getting more sophisticated with their manipulation tactics.The following table explains phishing and other common attack types so that you can familiarize yourself with dangers online:
Attack typeHow it works
PhishingThe sender impersonates a legitimate business asking for login credentials, bank details, and other sensitive information by requiring a user to take action and visit a spoof link
RansomwareA specific type of malware is designed to lock the user out of their account, demanding compensation or a specific action to give access back to the owner
Brute force attackUses trial and error to gain access to the target's account by entering numerous passwords, starting with the most commonly used ones
As daunting as these attacks seem, most are preventable if you follow the right email security practices:
  1. Set strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
  2. Tread carefully with suspicious links and attachments
  3. Keep your connections secured
  4. Use end-to-end encrypted email services

Secure your email with complex passwords

Memorizing your passwords is bothersome and risky, so people tend to set the ones they can remember easily. This is a common mistake that may lead to numerous breaches. To keep your account secure, make sure the password doesn’t contain:
  • Consecutive numbers or characters (12345, abcde)
  • Personal details (name, birthday, street)
  • Easy-to-guess keystroke patterns (asdfgh, 1qaz2wsx)
Your password should be a complex combination of random alphanumeric and special characters. There’s a high chance you won’t remember it, so you can use a reliable password manager to keep all your login credentials in one place.If your email client supports 2FA, take advantage of this option, as it can be an excellent security layer. Not every email service provider (ESP) offers it, in which case you can use a third-party solution. Even if someone breaches your password, they won’t have access to your account without the one-time code sent to your device.

Think twice before following a link or downloading files

As explained, phishing entails the attacker manipulating the user into taking action. In most cases, you’ll get an email saying you must log into an account to avoid suspension. The email might seem legit at first glance, but the link will take you to a spoof page designed to steal your credentials.That’s why you should never click on a link unless you’re certain the email is coming from a trusted source. Pay attention to the phrasing the sender is using or any visual signs, like strange logos. Another good idea is to look at the email address rather than only the sender’s name, as closer inspection often uncovers a fake account.The below screenshot is a perfect example of a phishing attack. It’s an Outlook email received from an attacker impersonating Amazon Prime and asking for billing information. There are four obvious signs the email isn’t genuine:
  1. “Monthly” is misspelled
  2. “Prime” isn’t written as a proper noun, and the sentence construction is incorrect
  3. Grammar mistake
  4. Suspicious email address
Some phishing attacks might be harder to spot, but there’s almost always a tell-tale sign you’re dealing with a scammer. When in doubt, it’s best to reach out to the company in question and confirm the request you received is genuine before taking any action.Email attachments should also be approached with care, as they might contain malware. Don’t download email content from an unknown sender, and use malware detection to scan attachments before opening them.
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Fortify your connection

The risk of data breaches through unsecured networks increased with the rise of remote work. If you tend to take your correspondence outside of the office, make sure you have the right security measures in place.Despite the convenience of public Wi-Fi, you should stay away from open networks as much as possible. There’s a high chance you’ll need to connect to them at some point, so you might consider investing in a VPN (Virtual Private Network) solution. It encrypts your connections and masks your IP address, making it harder for attackers to intercept your mail and break into your account. Note that not all VPNs are reliable, and the solution is not bulletproof, so your best chance of staying safe is avoiding public networks completely.Home networks aren’t as risky, but you should still secure them to minimize the attack surface, especially if you work from home. The simplest way to do this is by setting a strong password, but you can add extra security layers by enabling the firewall and using Wi-Fi network encryption.

Choose an email service provider with end-to-end encryption

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is the gold standard for keeping your emails private and secure. As the name implies, it protects your emails from the moment they leave your device until they reach the recipient. E2EE turns readable plain text into cipher text using an encryption key, and the only person who can access them is the recipient with a decryption key. Even if someone intercepts the email, they won’t be able to access its contents without the decryption key.Most Big Tech providers like Gmail or Yahoo don’t offer this level of security. They use basic protocols like TLS (Transport Layer Security), an alternative to the unsecured SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). TLS protects your email while it’s in transit but does nothing to secure it when it’s resting on the provider’s servers.Even providers claiming to offer E2EE don’t always provide as much security as advertised. This is because they store decryption keys on their server, which gives them access to users' emails. To gain full control over your data, you should opt for a solution that lets you create and store the key without sharing it with the provider.If you need an end-to-end encrypted email service ensuring complete confidentiality and privacy, sign up for Skiff.

Protect your correspondence and data with Skiff Mail

Skiff Mail uses advanced E2EE to safeguard users’ data and give them full ownership over the information shared via email. The platform ensures privacy from the get-go, as you don’t even need to leave any personal information to sign up. Skiff supports zero-knowledge login powered by the Secure Remote Password algorithm, so the account won’t be tied to any PII (Personally Identifiable Information).When you sign up, you can enjoy robust E2EE combining two separate keys:
Key TypePurpose
Public keyUsed for encryption and shared among users to enable safe email transfer
Private keySecurely stored on the user’s device and mathematically related to the public key, ensuring nobody but the recipient can decipher the email
Even Skiff’s team can’t access your data, as the keys are created by the user. You’ll have complete peace of mind knowing that all information you share online stays private.

Standout features separating Skiff from the competition

Skiff isn’t the only privacy-first email service, but it offers a comprehensive set of features most providers can’t match. The rich free plan gives users everything they need to fortify their online identity.You get 10 GB of storage, which is enough to store all your important files without worrying about security breaches. You can also take advantage of free unlimited email and text search, a feature that most competitors place behind a paywall.Skiff supports login with various crypto wallets for anonymous online communication:All the features are packed in a carefully designed user interface to let users of all skill levels send protected emails effortlessly. You don’t need to install any additional software or go through complex configurations to get started—E2EE on Skiff is automatic and takes place the moment you sign up.Skiff is open source, so anyone can review the code and security measures. For more information on how the platform implements its encryption practices, check out the whitepaper.

Collaborate safely with Skiff’s product suite

If you’re looking for a secure alternative to popular cloud workspaces, explore Skiff’s privacy-first platforms:
  • Skiff Pages—Create unlimited docs and share them with your team to streamline your workflow without privacy concerns. From a rich text editor to intuitive collaboration features, Skiff Pages provides everything you need to stay productive
  • Skiff Drive—Take advantage of secure storage for any type of sensitive files. Skiff offers optional InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) integration, so you can opt to store your files in a decentralized environment
  • Skiff Calendar—Stay organized and schedule events with an end-to-end encrypted calendar. You can customize the platform’s features to adapt the interface and actions to your needs

Get started with Skiff Mail

You can sign up for Skiff in three quick steps:
  1. Go to the signup page
  2. Choose your account name and password
  3. Explore Skiff Mail and other products
To avoid losing your previous correspondence, you can migrate your data to Skiff. The platform doesn’t store unencrypted copies of your emails or files, so you can transfer them without risks.If you need to scale up or want more features, you can upgrade to Skiff’s Essential, Pro, or Business plan. You’ll get up to:

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