Is Your Email Password the Weak Link?

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Email password security Google Gmail - SpeedyPassword

Google, the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan recently released a research report on the state of email security in 2015. The key findings showed that email is, in fact, more secure than it was two years ago:

  • Encryption is more widely used to protect data. In 2015, 28% more emails sent to Gmail users from non-Gmail senders were encrypted than in 2013.
  • A full 80% of non-Gmail email providers now support encryption. (Gmail does too, of course.)
  • Over 94% of all inbound messages to Gmail require some form authentication to help protect against phishing scams and fake senders.

Overall, they found that the top email providers – Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook – all proactively encrypt and authenticate messages.

What’s encryption?

Here’s an analogy from a developer: Imagine you created your own language. You can speak to us, and we can repeat back what you said, but we have no idea what you meant – and we’ll never learn what it means. Add a layer of earmuffs to everyone else in the world but you and your email provider (or password manager!) – and you’ve got encryption.

Email password security tips

So, our email is safer than ever! This might give you the feeling that you can rest and relax. However, such security measures can only go so far. To use another analogy, what good is a triple-bolted back door if the front porch is wide open? This is the case for many of us, especially when we don’t use unique, strong passwords to protect our email accounts.

Good password habits are just as important for email security as the hard work put in by the researchers and developers behind your email program. Not sure how your password stacks up? Start with using our free Password Strength Checker, then follow some of Google’s top email password tips:

  1. Have a unique password for each email address. Don’t repeat passwords across multiple email accounts.
  2. Use a strong password that includes numbers, letters and symbols. Avoid using publicly available details like your pet’s name or address that people could guess.
  3. Set up your email password recovery options, like linking your mobile phone number or another email address. Be sure to keep them up-to-date. (These are better options than security questions, according to another Google report.)

Email password storage

And, we would add, if you’re having a hard time remembering all your strong, unique email password options, we would suggest trying a password manager to help you safely login and store your passwords for you.

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