Is Your Free Email Service Provider Secure from Phishing, Spamming, and ID Theft Risk?

Free E-mail

Free email service providers, while convenient, are not the most secure option.  We often discuss with clients the pitfalls in security and privacy that free email service provider accounts can create for your personal and business uses.

Security Risks

  • Identity Theft (Personal and Business)
  • Phishing and Spamming Your Email
  • Spamming Your Contacts (as you!)

Identity Theft

Identity theft is rampant these days and your personal or business information security could be at risk if you are using a free email service provider or host such as Yahoo!, Hotmail, or others.  These companies offer free email hosting and give you unlimited access from the web, which means anyone can create an account and access it from anywhere there is an internet connection.  This may seem like a good thing when you are looking at accessibility for you or your employees, but the problem is that free email service providers fully support anonymous spamming and phishing accounts as well as legitimate ones.

Phishing and Spamming Your Email

Phishing and spamming of your free email service provider account can cause a lot of headache, but this is also one of the ways that hackers get information on you, your clients and your business.  Private information or sensitive information should never be shared through a free email account because of the reduced security and opportunity for virtually untraceable hacking into your sensitive information or that of your clients and family.

Spamming Your Contacts (as You!)

Another opportunity that free email service providers or hosting can provide is the chance for a hacker to pose as you or your business to all of your contacts.  The lax security allows for a relatively easy hack of your account and once your password has been phished, your entire contacts list or address book is available for the hacker to do with as they please.  This means, your contacts can be spammed from your email address. Most hackers won’t take the time to respond to your emails for you, but sometimes they will craft a message to your entire address book, posing as you, to get more personal information about the people in your address book. This can have serious ramifications for your clients, family, and your own personal and professional reputation.

Our Recommendation

The bottom line here is don’t use a free email service provider or hosting account for passing sensitive information – it’s accessibility and affordability do not outweigh the risks for personal, financial, and professional ruin. We recommend to our clients to brand and host their email on their website domain, rather than using the free hosted email service provider. You can tell which you have because the free versions use the domain of the provider (example1@hotmail.com, example2@yahoo.com), whereas the self-hosted or website hosted email, such as our Integris Web Hosting, will use your website domain in the email address (example1@safedomainofmywebsite.com).

Contact us today to learn more about how to protect yourself, your business, and your clients online.

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