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Understand why you shouldn't use your corporate email for personal purposes

There’s certainly an element of pride: it’s your first day at a new job and one of the first things the company does is create a corporate email address to call your own. Everything seems wonderful... Until you decide to use the privileged address to sign up for a newsletter. Then a social network. Later, you begin making online purchases, and so on.

Unfortunately, this is a rather common habit among employees. However, did you know that using your company email address for any purpose other than strictly professional ends is an error that can end up causing you major problems for your company? In some cases, it may even result in just cause termination, if the practice is strictly prohibited in your company’s information security policy, for example.

Sure, it may sound as though we’re exaggerating, but the seemingly innocent act of using your professional email address for personal ends can cause serious problems not only for your employees but for the staff members, too!

Here are three risks when using your professional email address for personal ends

Facilitates spear phishing: registering a company email address on just any web page makes life easier for cybercriminals implementing spear phishing campaigns. Using a specialized tool, they can discover that you used your professional email address to sign up on a certain platform. This makes it a lot easier to come up with a more realistic-sounding fraudulent message, by pretending, for example, to be the service you signed up for. This technique, along with an analysis of your social networks, forms the perfect tools to develop a targeted scam aimed specifically at your company. 

Data leaks: have you ever considered that the online store through which you opened an account could have its data breached? Should this happen, your company email address would be among the stolen information. With this, criminals are already “halfway there” to using your address for a brute force attack and may end up gaining access not only to your professional email account, but also to the other platforms you use at work if you use the same credentials.

Spam: spreading your corporate email address across the web is an easy way to flood your inbox with unnecessary and unsolicited messages. The more spam in your email, the harder it becomes to identify important messages and, obviously, the much-feared phishing messages.

It can also be bad for you!

If none of that is enough to convince you to separate your professional life from your personal life, it’s worth remembering that using your company email for activities not related to work also puts your own privacy at risk. 

After all, many corporations follow monitoring policies that analyze what comes in and goes out of employee email accounts, to ensure they are being used correctly – which is perfectly legal, as long as employees are notified in advance of the practice.

Lastly, also keep in mind that if you’re dismissed from the company, you’ll lose access to your corporate email account and, consequentially, all the accounts you created using that professional email address. 

See? At the end of the day, it ends up causing more harm than good for all involved. So, from now on, think twice before using your company email address for personal purposes.

Article originally written in Portuguese by Perallis Security Content Team: Entenda por que você não deve usar o e-mail corporativo para fins pessoais — Perallis Security