The Core Problem with eMail-Based LogIn Credentials
Most sites demand registration, comprised of the umpteenth password and your email address. The quality of security safeguarding your credentials remains an unknown, until a well-publicized hack publishes the woeful details. Does the site inform you of the hack? Well, Yahoo did, years after the fact. How, then, do we protect ourselves?
My answer: create a unique password AND email address for each entity. My weapon of choice: 33mail.com. Just as a password is created on the fly, so too is my for-this-site-only email address.
Creating Your 33mail.com Account
You begin by, surprise, registering at the site. I configured my 33mail account to forward mail to one of my gmail accounts. The forwarding transpires in the background; the true email address remains hidden from the other website where you established login credentials using your 33mail account.
Setting up a 33mail account requires a username, which becomes part of your permanent 33mail address. Example:
- UserName → username.33mail.com.
Therefore, you might register at Yahoo with yahoo @ username.33mail.com, or at NewYorkTimes.com with nyt @ username.33mail.com. The newly registered site’s (here, yahoo or NYT) related confirmation emails will first hit the 33mail.com server, where it forwards to your true email address. I’ve noticed no related time lag.
The monumental convenience continues. Each email you receive via 33mail includes an insertion at the top. Illustration:
This email was sent to the alias ‘yahoo @ username.33mail.com’ by ‘person @ wouldbespammer.com’, and 33Mail forwarded it to you. To block all further emails to this alias click [here].
Thus, blocking mail from a particular website requires only one tap, presented within the same email triggering your Bye Felicia! mood. If you change your mind the next day, week, etc—no problem, as two methods accommodate reawakening the blocked alias.
- Each block sparks a confirming “blocked it” email from 33mail, including an unblock-it link. I archive these confirming notes; a quick gmail search retrieves that note if/when needed.
- Your 33mail.com account includes a Dashboard, where you can also effect an unblock.
Free vs Paid 33mail.com Accounts
In short, this service lives to make your online life easier, adding a measure of security. The free account has limitations, but they are reasonable. From 33mail’s FAQ:
You can create as many aliases as you like. We do have rate limiting in place though so you can only create 5 per 30 minute period if you have a lite account, 20 for premium users and 50 for pro users.
The Premium Plan costs $12 annually; the Pro Plan, $60.
There’s also a “monthly bandwidth” allotment, reflecting the total data count of emails forwarded:
- Free/Lite Plan: 10MB
- Premium: 50MB
- Pro: 500MB.
You can read more about the differences among these plans at https://www.33mail.com/pricing
I’ve enjoyed this service for over 2 years. I happily subscribed to the Premium/$12yr plan. I didn’t require more bandwidth; nor did additional features prompt the subscription. Rather, I value the service and wanted to increase the odds of its longevity.
Not only does my true email box remain spam-free, the unique addresses I’ve created make it much easier to
- conjure filters, so forwarded emails land in the desired folder
- reveal which site passed on my address to spammers
- adds a second unique element → the inevitable hack won’t phase me, because each of the two aspects of the credentials (email addy, password) apply to only the one site hacked
Reaching InBox Zero on a daily basis mandates judicious filtering. My filters minimize if not prevent newsletters, order confirmations etc from landing within my main InBox. I see what’s important, with yeah so matters safely tucked away for a subsequent dedicated email-review session.