Privacy Awareness Week 2017

We are excited to announce that FastMail is a partner in this year’s Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) — the largest campaign in the Asia Pacific that raises awareness on privacy issues and how personal information can be better protected.

The campaign runs from 15 May to 19 May and this year’s theme is ‘trust and transparency’, to highlight how clear privacy practices build trust between individuals and organisations.

At FastMail, we have a great responsibility to keep your email secure. We continually review our code and processes for potential vulnerabilities and we take new measures wherever possible to further secure your data.

In our recent blog post on FastMail’s Values we made it clear that not only does your data belong to you, but that we also strive to be good stewards of your data.

By being privacy-aware, you can make more informed decisions about managing your data. Here are a few quick best practice tips you can use with your FastMail account:

1. Protect your email, protect your identity

Passwords are like locks, and some doors are more important than others. Your email is the front door and master key to most of your online identities. If a malicious user controls your email, they can reset your passwords everywhere else (like your bank account).

The best protection? Just like in your home, it’s two sets of locks — two-step verification (also known as two-factor authentication or 2FA). It combines something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone or a security key). We make it easy to set up and use two-step verification on your FastMail account.

Not all your online accounts require two-step verification, but we recommend it for identity services (like Facebook or Twitter), financial services (your bank, your credit card company), and other services with critical data (Dropbox, your DNS provider).

2. Protect your keys

The two most common ways for an attacker to get your password are either knowing enough about a user’s personal information to guess it, or reuse of a password compromised from another site. You can protect against both of these attacks with one simple tool: a password manager. A password manager makes it easy to use a distinct password for every service. Good password managers will even generate random passwords for you, making it impossible for someone to guess.

Many browsers have a basic password manager built in. We prefer stand-alone tools like 1Password or LastPass — their syncing tools let you access your passwords on both your computer and your phone.

3. Trust, but verify

Less common than password reuse or guessable passwords, but a growing problem, is phishing. Phishing is a targeted attack, where a malicious user claims to be a trusted contact (FastMail, your bank, a loved one) to get you to provide your password or other personal information.

When you receive an email from the FastMail team, it will always have our security check mark. (Want to know what the security check mark looks like?) If you want to be sure you’re on the proper FastMail website, look for the green padlock badge in the URL bar.

For any service, when in doubt, do not click on the links in a message – go directly to their website instead. If it’s urgent enough for a company to email you, you should expect to see an alert on your account, too.

Follow these simple tips, and better protect your privacy online.

Visit the PAW 2017 website to find out more and be sure to join the conversation on social media with #2017PAW, and help raise privacy awareness.

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