Recent security breaches, such as the one affecting Nansen, underline the pressing need for rigorous online security practices and operational security. As online interactions grow, so do the associated risks for users and companies. One overlooked yet effective security strategy is the use of unique emails and passwords for each online signup. Let’s delve into why this approach enhances online privacy and how users and companies can implement this strategy.
Why Use Unique Emails for Each Signup?
At its core, using distinct email addresses makes it harder for hackers to gain access to multiple accounts using a singular breached email. Should one account be compromised, other accounts remain unaffected, preserving their integrity and your online privacy.
We have compiled a ten step strategy for implementing unique emails:
1. Base Email Foundation: Select a primary email as your base – the bedrock for all your subsequent unique email addresses. Think of this as your master email account, one account to rule them all.
2. Harness the Power of Aliases: Most email service providers provide you with the ability to create ‘aliases’. Leveraging these aliases can give you alternate email addresses directing to your primary inbox. By using identifiers such as “firstname.lastname@example.org”, you can create a myriad of unique addresses which are linked to your primary base email.
3. Explore Plus(+) Addressing: Providers like Gmail allow for '+' extensions. An address such as "email@example.com" still reaches "firstname.lastname@example.org" but gives you an additional layer of differentiation. This allows you to create a unique email for every signup without having to use your base email address.
4. Robust Password ‘Best’ Practices: A unique email is only as strong as its password. Use a trusted password manager to maintain distinct, strong passwords for each account. Although basic password hygiene seems simple, many people still create passwords from scratch rather than using a password manager.
5. Efficient Forwarding Rules: Utilise email rules to direct emails from unique addresses into specific folders, optimising organisation and also to maintain a central repository of account information.
6. Verification and Record-Keeping: Make sure to document which alias corresponds to which service you have signed up for. This is crucial for account recovery and especially for two-step verification enabled accounts.
7. Periodic Clean-Up: Regularly review and eliminate unused or untrusted aliases, mitigating unnecessary risks or security breaches should these emails become compromised.
8. Secure Email Services: Prioritise email services renowned for stringent security and privacy measures, especially for sensitive accounts. All email service providers are not created equal. DYOR before choosing your ‘master’ email address or password manager.
9. Enable Two-Factor Authentication: Incorporate an added security layer through 2FA for your email and linked services. Do not become complacent when it comes to email security.
10. Maintain Vigilance: Act swiftly on news of security breaches or leaks. If a service provider or password manager linked to an alias is compromised, take immediate action to ensure your security and prevent your master account being breached.
In today's digital era, safeguarding online interactions demands proactive measures. Employing unique emails and passwords for every signup is a strategic move to protect your online presence against potential threats. Both users and companies need to follow best practices when it comes to operational security.
Stay informed, stay secure.