Table of contents
Start for free
How to protect email from hackers—a concise guideCybersecurity can be a matter of a few healthy habits. Learn how to protect email from hackers by adopting these online defense best practices.
Over 90% of cyberattacks begin with a phishing email—a scam method designed to trick users into revealing their login credentials or downloading malicious software. With such concerning statistics, securing your email account is crucial for safe online communication.This guide will teach you how to protect your email from hackers by applying essential security measures. You’ll learn:
- Which malicious software is the most dangerous?
- Are standard email security protocols reliable?
- Is there a trustworthy alternative to mainstream email services?
Take proactive steps to secure your emailSkiff uses end-to-end encryption and anti-malware security features to keep you safe
How to keep your email secure—6 preventative measuresWhile a security-oriented email service is the only reliable way to keep your online privacy and safety intact, some personal measures can help protect your sensitive information.You can reduce the chance of a breach by following these safety practices:
- Create a strong password
- Use two-factor authentication
- Don’t open suspicious links or emails
- Update your software
- Declutter your apps and extensions
- Use an end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) email service
Create a strong passwordA strong password is a combination of at least 10 characters, including:
- Lowercase letters
- Uppercase letters
Use two-factor authentication (2FA)Two-factor authentication requires providing two codes—one you’ve created (a password) and one you receive from your email provider (typically a one-time code sent to your mobile device).Using 2FA protects against unauthorized access even if someone manages to steal your password. With 2FA enabled, hackers would need physical access to your device to complete the authentication process.This additional step significantly reduces the risk of a breach, as an attacker is unlikely to have both your password and the second authentication element.
Don’t open suspicious links or emailsYou may receive a message from seemingly legitimate sources, such as banks, social media platforms, or online services, with the address closely resembling the trusted sender. Still, if you look carefully, you will notice subtle differences, such as a missing letter or a special character. It’s a clear sign of a phishing attempt.You can also recognize phishing schemes by the generic nature of the message. The scammer may ask for information that was not previously required or claim that an issue with your account requires urgent attention.The phishing process typically looks like this:
- A hacker sends an email impersonating a trusted source
- The email contains a link that leads to a fake web page
- The user has to fill out personal information, such as first and last name, Social Security number, and credit card number
Update your softwareSoftware updates include bug fixes, performance improvements, and security patches that address current vulnerabilities.Not updating your software can expose your devices and data to various threats, including malware attacks and unauthorized email access.The following table is an overview of the most common types of attacks and the level of security threat they carry:
The Trojan is the most dangerous for email security. The attacker first uses a phishing method to get you to download their code, after which they have free access to your personal data, financial details, and confidential communication.
|Malware type||How they attack you||Level of security threat|
|Viruses||Infect and modify files, spreading through devices and networks||Moderate|
|Trojans||Deceive you by disguising as legitimate software, gaining unauthorized access||High|
|Spyware||Secretly collect your personal data and online activities||Moderate|
|Keyloggers||Record your keystrokes to capture sensitive information||High|
|Rootkits||Conceal unauthorized access and control, making detection difficult||High|
Declutter your apps and extensionsKeeping apps and extensions you no longer use carries security risks. Cybercriminals often target vulnerable or obsolete software to get their hands on sensitive information.By decluttering and regularly updating your apps and extensions, you lower the risk of attack and strengthen your device security.
Use an end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) email serviceE2E encrypted email services prioritize user privacy by ensuring that only the sender and recipient have access to the contents of their messages. This type of security protection is effective because:
- The message is encrypted on the sender's device with a unique encryption key
- The encrypted email is a jumbled set of characters during transit
- Decryption requires the recipient's unique key to unlock and decrypt the message
Ensure total email security with Skiff MailSkiff Mail's advanced encryption offers unparalleled protection against threats
Why is end-to-end encryption superior?Most Big Tech email services typically offer only basic protection, leaving your emails pretty vulnerable to unauthorized access or interception.TLS (Transport Layer Security) and S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) are the most common security protocols, even though they’re far from the safest ones. The table below highlights their weak points:
Gmail, Outlook, and other mainstream email services don’t provide E2E encryption within their free plans but rely on encryption in transit to protect your messages. Luckily, you can find excellent privacy- and security-oriented alternatives like Skiff Mail, offering strong E2EE to all its users by default.
|Encryption occurs during transit but does not guarantee at-rest safety||The sender and recipient must have compatible S/MIME certificates|
|Email content is available to the email service provider||Emails are vulnerable to attacks if private keys are compromised on the provider’s servers|
|The content is vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks||Email providers may have access to the decrypted content|
How to secure your email with SkiffAs a security-first email provider, Skiff offers device-based E2E encryption to all users. Check out the security procedure in the following table:
Since only you and the intended recipient have the keys, not even the provider can read your messages, which ensures no third party can collect your email data.The encryption and decryption keys are not stored on the provider’s server. You get a secure and private communication channel with no risk of man-in-the-middle attacks. Even if an attacker intercepts the communication at any point, they cannot read the messages because the decryption key is available only to the intended recipient.Skiff has smart systems that identify and block phishing emails and malicious attachments, protecting you from scams and preventing harmful software from reaching your inbox.If you prioritize anonymity online, you will appreciate Skiff’s zero-knowledge login policy. The Secure Remote Password algorithm allows you to sign in without filling out personal information. This security measure prevents anyone from getting your login credentials because they’ll never be stored on the server.To stay completely anonymous, you can use a crypto wallet as your login credentials—Skiff integrates with:
|Type of key||What’s it for?|
|Public encryption key||Used to encrypt or scramble the data on your device. It's called the public key because you share it with the recipient|
|Private decryption key||Used to decrypt or unscramble the data on the recipient’s device. It’s private, as only the recipient has it|
Skiff gives you four end-to-end-encrypted productsBesides Skiff Mail, a free account grants you access to three additional mutually-integrated end-to-end encrypted products:
- Skiff Pages—Excellent alternative to Google Docs that lets you create, edit, and share documents securely
- Skiff Drive—Cloud-based storage that keeps your private data safe
- Skiff Calendar—A secure organizational tool that syncs with your email account
- 10 GB of storage
- Five folders and labels
- Four email aliases
- Six workspace collaborators
- Email scheduling
- Full-content email search
- Custom signatures
Sign up for a free Skiff account in a matter of minutesTo start using Skiff’s E2EE ecosystem, follow these simple steps:
- Go to the signup page
- Create your username and password
- Start using Skiff Mail and other productivity tools