Worried that your Yahoo account could use some extra security? It’s a valid concern. Over the past few years, Yahoo has suffered from several breaches and security hacks.
If you choose to stick with Yahoo Mail or just need a Yahoo account for Flickr, here are ten ways to increase your account security.
1. Set a Strong Password
No guide to security would be complete without this basic tip. Your email is a critical account because you use it to log into so many other services. If someone broke into your Yahoo email, they could reset passwords on other sites, and really mess with your online life.
That’s why you should upgrade your password strength before you do anything else. Even if you’re already using a strong password, changing it is always a good idea in light of the past breaches.
Start by signing into your Yahoo account, then click the profile picture in the top-right. Choose Account Info to open your settings.
Then click the Account security tab on the left sidebar. Select the Change password link and type your new password twice. Remember to create a strong password and don’t re-use one from another account. Start using a password manager if you have trouble remembering them all.
2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Next to a strong password, enabling two-factor verification is one of the best ways to protect your account. When activated, in addition to your password, you’ll need to enter a code sent to your phone in order to sign in. This ensures that even if someone steals your password, they can’t get into your account without your phone.
To enable this, head back to the Account Info page on the Account Security tab. Slide the Two-step verification switch on, then Yahoo will ask for your mobile number. Enter it, then decide if you want to get a call or text message with your code. Once you receive the code, enter it and click Verify.
After this, you have the opportunity to create app passwords. Some apps, like Mail on iOS and Outlook, don’t support two-factor authentication. Thus, you can create special app passwords that will allow you to sign in on those apps. If you skip this, you can create these passwords later by clicking the Generate app password on the Account Security tab.
3. Update Your Recovery Information
You can add contact information to your Yahoo account in case you get locked out. This allows you to use another email address or your phone number to get back into your account if you forget your password. Thus, it’s vital to ensure this info is updated before it’s too late.
To do so, visit the Account Info > Account security tab again. Under Phone numbers and Email addresses, add any contact details you regularly use. Select either category, choose Add recovery email/phone, and enter the appropriate info. For phones, you’ll receive a verification code via SMS or a call. If you add a new email address, you’ll get a message with a link to verify the address.
While you’re here, it’s worth reviewing any old account recovery info. If you don’t use a particular email address or phone number anymore, click the trash can to remove it.
Additionally, Yahoo retired security questions as a verification method (thankfully). If you’re a longtime Yahoo user, you might still see security questions in your settings. Click Disable security questions and follow the steps to kill them off.
4. Review Account History Regularly
Yahoo provides a handy log of your account activity. You can look over this to help determine if someone has broken into your account.
Click Account Info again, then switch to the Recent activity tab. You’ll see a list of active sessions that shows the browser and operating system for each. Click one to see a list of logins on that device for the past 30 days, including exact times, IP addresses, and locations.
Below this, you’ll see the most recent access changes, like setting a new password. If you see anything on this page you don’t recognize, you should change your password right away. Doing so will automatically sign you out of your account everywhere.
5. Beware Phishing Emails
Email phishing never goes away, so it’s vital to stay on the lookout for it. To stay safe from fake messages that want to steal your account information, you should never click links in emails.
Review our tips on how to spot phishing emails so you know what to look for. If you receive something from your bank or other sensitive entity claiming they have a message for you, go directly to their website.
In Yahoo mail, you’ll see a purple Y logo to the left of the contact info on an official Yahoo message. Don’t trust this blindly, though — scammers could find some way to fake this.
Following phishing emails will provide your account details to nefarious folk, rendering your strong password pointless.
6. Check Your Forwarding Settings
Email forwarding is a handy tool if you juggle multiple accounts. But it can also be something a hacker uses to spy on you. With just a few minutes in your account, someone could set up email forwarding so they get a copy of everything you receive.
It’s worth double-checking to make sure nobody did this behind your back. Open Yahoo Mail, then click the Gear icon followed by Settings. Choose the Accounts tab on the left, and click the Yahoo entry with your email address.
Scroll down to the bottom, and you’ll see the Access your Yahoo Mail elsewhere field. Make sure there’s no information here. If there is, then Yahoo is sending all your email to the address specified. Make a note of it, then turn forwarding off and change your password.
7-10. Other Miscellaneous Tips
On a lesser scale, you can keep a few important tricks in mind for protecting your Yahoo account:
- If you sign in to your email on a public computer, make sure to sign out before you leave that PC to prevent someone else from jumping on after you.
- On your own PC, use an updated secure browser and make sure you have proper security software installed.
- Protect your smartphone with a fingerprint, PIN, or other security so someone can’t access your email on your unattended phone.
- Know the signs of your email account spamming your friends.
Consider Leaving Yahoo
The above tips will all help protect your Yahoo account. But it’s worth noting that you might want to leave Yahoo altogether. As mentioned earlier, Yahoo discovered that it had suffered a massive security breach two years after the fact. Around the same time, it became known that Yahoo was scanning user emails to hand over the data to the NSA.
These two massive blows to its users made many think that Yahoo didn’t deserve your time anymore. We’ve covered moving to ProtonMail, a security-focused alternative, or simply switching to Gmail. What you do is your business, but consider that this company doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to keeping your information safe and private.
Yahoo, You’re Secure!
Now you know the best ways to keep prying eyes out of your Yahoo account. These tips will protect your account, whether you use it for email or fantasy football. A bit of vigilance goes a long way!
For more, check out extra email security tips you can share with others.
Why do you still use Yahoo? Have you taken these actions to secure your account? Tell us down in the comments, and be sure your friends who also use Yahoo see it too!