If you have internet service then you probably have an email account. According to a 2018 study by the Radicati Group, there will be an estimated 3.8 billion email users before the start of 2019, and this number is over 100 million more than the previous year. In a 2017 study, the same company estimated that on an average day, 269 billion emails were sent.
Email is a tremendously versatile open platform which allows us to communicate quickly and inexpensively with anyone in any part of the world as long as they have access to email. Clearly,email use has become ingrained in our everyday life whether we use it in our personal or business lives or both.
Reasons People Use Email
Email (electronic mail) was created to emulate traditional mail which is commonly known as “snail mail”. Since it is delivered almost instantly, it allows people to communicate faster than by regular mail and also allows recipients to respond at their convenience. Email is easily available, fast, independent of any company, familiar to almost all users of computers and smartphones, and free.
Email services route your sent emails and gather the emails you receive so you can access them. These services allow you to have access to your email at either a website or by offering the ability for your email to be downloaded to your computer. Both options of accessibility are offered by most of the popular email services.
Types of Email Services
- Internet-based Email: Most free email services are internet-based which means users can access their email by using an internet browser. They are also able to send and receive their mail in this way. Some examples are Yahoo, Gmail, and AOL. These services are popular because they are free and convenient since email can be checked from anywhere there is internet access.
- ISP Provided Email: Along with providing internet service, many ISP’s internet service providers) offer their customers email accounts. They use (POP3) servers which keep incoming email messages on a remote server until the user retrieves it. The message is then deleted from the service which allows the server to make room for additional email.
What is an Email Account?
An email account is the address you set up with your email services. It is the inbox or folders provided to you. The address uniquely identifies your mailbox and the service you are using. If you your name is John Doe and you have an email account with Comcast then your email address may look like this: JohnDoe @Comcast.net. The domain part of the address is “Comcast.net” and routes the email to your service. After an email arrives at the email service’s servers, your email name is examined to identify where the email should be sent. This is where the “JohnDoe” part of your email address comes in.
What is an Email Program?
This is where some people get confused. An email program or email client is computer software and in this case,it refers to the software you run on your computer in order to access your email. Examples includeOutlook, Thunderbird, etc. Email programs are set up with your email account information. An email program allows you to download your email to your computer so you can access it. You don’t need to use an email program but the allure is that you can configure one or more email addresses to arrive at one central location.
Understanding Email Logins
Setting up an email account with your service provider (ISP) may differ slightly depending on the company. However, in general terms, you will be asked to create an account which will be comprised of numbers, letters, and/or symbols. The service will check to make sure that the name you have chosen is not in useif it has already been taken you will be offered a suggestion or you can try another name. Once you have your email account name, you will be asked to set your password. It’s important that you use a unique password which is sufficiently difficult for another person to guess. Some services will offer to grade the strength of the password you have chosen or will offer suggested passwords.
Why are passwords so important?
Most people don’t realize the importance of email account security. They will take steps to ensure that their online bank accounts and credit card accounts are secure but take their email accounts for granted. However, cyber-criminals know that email accounts can provide vital information such as personal details and even a way to acquire passwords to important accounts.
Email addresses are used by most people to identify themselves online. Instead of creating a username, many people use their primary email address as a username. If someone has access to your email account, they can easily find out the name of your bank(s), credit card companies, and the shopping sites which you regularly use. Then, instead of trying to brute-force the password to the account they want to access, they can request a password reset which will be sent to the email address on record. The email address that the criminal now has access to!
Some people email password reminders or other sensitive information to themselves. Perhaps you applied for a mortgage or refinanced your home and had to email documents to your lender. That information is also just sitting there waiting to be discovered.
Tips for Setting Passwords
- Create passwords which are easy to remember but hard to guess
- Use a passphraseinstead of a password: A passphrasetends to be long, perhaps 20 characters or more and consists of random words strung together and separated by symbols or numbers and using lower and uppercase letters.
- Passwords should be at least 12 characters long and include a combination of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, andsymbols
- Consider using a password manager like RoboForm or LastPass which let you create unique passwords for each of your accounts but which require only one password to access the program.
Setting up your email account is not difficult once you follow the steps which apply to your specific ISP (internet service provider). Keeping your login information safe and secure is important to ensure that your personal and sensitive data does not fall into the wrong hands. Taking simple measures in selecting a password are an essential part of this process.