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  • Drew Hjelm

Secure Yourself Online: Use Anonymized Email Addresses

It seems like everywhere you go there’s a new requirement to give out your email address for contact information. Many of those places you give your email may try to then sell your information to other parties. Sometimes you get an email and it is hard to even know how you got on a mailing list. Using the same email address in many different places can lead to more spam in your mailboxes.


Additionally, data from different websites containing usernames, emails, and passwords are leaked regularly, allowing hackers to get username and password lists for them to try to gain access to other organizations in attacks commonly called “credential stuffing.” If John Doe uses the same email address and password on multiple sites to get in, then attackers can try to reuse those credentials and possibly try to even log in to any suspected business-related accounts.


As more folks become used to using unique passwords and password managers based on great tips from truted organizations like CISA, the next step to helping keep your online presence from leading to more spam or other worse actions is to start using aliases to hide email addresses. Creating email aliases allows you to have single-use email addresses to link to specific accounts without having to have separate email inboxes for all those email addresses.


Gmail users may be familiar with using a + in the email address to create aliases to automatically move messages into different folders, however the email address would still contain your real email address and the alias can be removed simply by removing the + alias in the email address.


Various paid services like 33mail and SimpleLogin allow you to custom route your email using different aliases.


Yahoo Mail also has the capability to create aliases and disposable email addresses as well.


As an Apple user, I have had a great experience using their Hide my Email product through iCloud. What is extremely helpful is that you can create email aliases natively on Mac or iPhone, in addition to in the web browser. This may be helpful for other folks as it doesn’t require being in the logged in web browser like Yahoo. The multiple options are handy for when you’re on the go and maybe aren’t logged into email within a web browser.


iPhone

To use Hide my Email on iPhone or iPad, go to the Settings App and click your iCloud profile.

Once in iCloud, scroll down to Hide my Email and then click Create New Address

When you create the new address, it will be a random set of words followed by icloud.com.

Once the email address is created, then you can hover over the name and copy it into the iPhone clipboard so you can paste it into another app. You can also create a label and note for what the email address is used for.

Mac


On Mac, the process is similar to iPhone. Go into System Preferences and iCloud, then the Hide my Email options:

Once in the Hide my Email screen, click the plus icon (+) to create a new alias.

Web browser


In a web browser, log in to Apple account at icloud.com and then go to Account Settings. Toward the bottom of the screen is a menu for managing Hide My Email.






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