One of the biggest mistakes people make, is having only one email address and using it for everything they sign up to online.
While that is very convenient, it's also very dangerous: if this email address gets compromised, many of your online accounts are in danger of being compromised as well.
Just for fun, enter your email address on this website and see if you get a red or green result: https://haveibeenpwned.com
Green is “good news”. If you get a red “Oh No - pwned” result, scroll down to see which services you subscribed to with this email, that had data breaches.
This is what came up for one of my email addresses:
What to do if you get a similar result?
- Change your password for that email address immediately
- Don’t use this email address anymore for anything important/privacy related
- DEFINITELY do not use it for crypto exchanges or anything related to your money or personal data
We should be very protective of our personal data and passwords anyway, but especially in Crypto Land, this is even more important.
Decentralise your email!
Most of us in the crypto world are fans of decentralisation, however when it comes to our own day to day information management we still prefer some level of centralisation, it seems - otherwise we would all have different email addresses for different purposes.
Maybe you already do this, or maybe there's room for improvement.
Here's a suggestion for separating your different email accounts:
- One for your friends and contacts
- One for your business, if you have one
- One for signing up for newsletters and “junk”
- One for your social media accounts
- One (or more) for signing up to crypto exchanges
Email addresses are free to set up unless you want more bells & whistles than the basic features. Do not use Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail addresses for crypto exchanges or any important personal information.
Get a new email address from either of these two privacy & security focused email service providers:
Both offer optional end-to-end encryption in their free versions.
This may feel inconvenient at first, but it's not something to take lightly. Many people who have lost money in Crypto Land didn't lose it because their exchange got hacked, but because their personal account had been compromised and it was just too easy to get hold of their email address and personal data.
All of the above goes for your passwords as well, of course. Do NOT use the same password everywhere. Do NOT use an easy-to-guess password. There are many password managers like LastPass to help you remember and manage your passwords from everywhere.
Make use of them, if your crypto savings are important to you... :)
Anja Schuetz helps absolute beginners to become confident crypto investors and create a Plan B for their financial future. She is the author of How To Stay Safe in the Crypto Space - a crypto safety guide for beginners - and has lots of free educational crypto resources on her website.
She also consults as a Customer Communication & Operations Manager for blockchain start-ups.