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Protecting your inbox

A couple weeks ago I was composing an email to my dear buddy Chuck when I noticed something odd at the top of my message. In Gmail, I have three different email addresses – a personal one, one for my personal blog and one for DR101. I can differentiate what address I’m sending a message from, but on this particular day – the outgoing email in the message did not belong to me whatsoever – unless, of course, my name is Frank.

As it turns out, unbeknownst to me my personal email (but not my name) had been sending out “resume” emails to various people. I spent a panicked hour that morning changing every password that I could think of that might have been emailed to me at some point in the history of my Gmail accounts.

I’m not entirely sure how I could have prevented this, although I’ll be honest – my passwords probably leave a lot to be desired. If you know any of my nephews, my birthday or my favorite musician, you’ll have a good chance at hacking my password. (I dated a guy once who used obscure German battle terminology for his passwords – so glad I didn’t stick with him …)

Here’s a couple of articles that I read when I was trying to diagnose my hacking problem and what to do about this. Although this doesn’t have much to do with being frugal, the time and energy that I spent that morning when I discovered my account was hacked could have been easily averted if I would have taken a few safety precautions in regularly changing my email (and other) passwords.

http://lifehacker.com/5051905/how-to-protect-your-email-from-hackers

http://www.itsecurity.com/features/99-email-security-tips-112006/

http://www.dnxpert.com/2008/12/05/email-hacking-and-how-to-protect-your-accounts/

http://lifehacker.com/software/passwords/geek-to-live–choose-and-remember-great-passwords-184773.php

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1 thought on “Protecting your inbox

  1. I’m probably way overly paranoid on online security, but the best method of password creation I’ve found is to use the first letter of each word in a phrase (like an 8-word phrase) that you can easily remember, and use those letters as your password. Longer the better, and replace one letter with a digit. Impossible to guess or use a dictionary attack on, and 8 characters is pretty strong.

    And it goes without saying, never write down passwords if you can help it, and always make sure anything you’re typing a password into is an “https”, as that means it’s been transmitted encrypted (this is not 100% security but it’s a lot better than clear text)

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