Masked Email Addresses Could Change Login Credentials for the Better

Stop giving out half your login details to anyone who asks

Key Takeaways

  • Your email address is as much a part of your online identity as your phone number or Social Security number.
  • Fastmail and 1Password have teamed up to make one-time emails as easy as one-time passwords.
  • Stop using the same email for everything.
Fastmail & 1Password team up for masked email addresses

Fastmail / 1Password

Do you use the same email or a handful of email addresses for all your communications? You should probably stop doing that. 

Whenever you create a new account for, well, anything, you may use a password manager to create unique and complex passcodes. But you probably still use the same email address for everything. Wouldn’t it be great if you could also create a unique email address to go with that strong password?

Fastmail and 1Password have teamed up to offer "masked" email addresses, which are just that. You can automatically generate a new email address at sign up, and it will automatically forward to your regular inbox. Masked emails join recent, similar offers from DuckDuckGo and Apple. Are we finally getting serious about email security?

"'In-the-know' email people have used masked email addresses for years. Making it easy to use is what makes it accessible, though," Helen Horstmann-Allen, chief operating officer of Fastmail, told Lifewire via email. "That's what was such an amazing opportunity about 1Password for us. The email part was simple for us, and working with them meant we could put the feature exactly where you need it most—when you're signing up for a new service."

Importance of Email

Your email isn’t just a way to send and receive messages. It’s also a part of your identity on the internet. We protect our passwords, and we refuse to take part in Facebook "quizzes" that try to gather personal information like your mother’s maiden name, but we give the same email address to our friends and family that we use to sign up for online accounts. 

"Using the same email everywhere means that anybody who knows your email address knows half of the combination you use to unlock all your online accounts," says Horstmann-Allen.

Getting Serious

This year, both Apple and DuckDuckGo have offered ways to fight this. Apple lets you create unique email addresses on demand, and DuckDuckGo gives you a duck.com email that’s not used to anonymize you, but to clean out trackers sent via email before forwarding the sanitized mail to you.

Email might still be totally insecure and unencrypted, but at least we’re starting to take it seriously. But why now?

Track and Trouble

Overall, we’re becoming more aware of online privacy issues, and with the recent exodus to working from home, personal security hygiene has gotten even more important. 

"Email phishing, combined with social engineering, accounts for 60% of all cyberattacks," Patricia Cerniauskaite, senior public relations manager of password manager service NordPass, told Lifewire via email. "Comparing the first and second quarters of 2020, targeted phishing attempts went up by 400%. Such a rapid increase could be attributed to the global shift to remote work, as bad actors have seen opportunity in taking advantage of remote employees that are not protected by corporate perimeters."

creating a masked email through fastmail

Fastmail

It’s a lot harder to phish somebody if they use unique email addresses for all accounts. And, of course, you can cut down on spam, or unwanted email, just by deactivating that address. We can’t avoid email, but we can stop making it so easy to exploit. 

"You need to log in to half the things on the internet to use them, and you need an email address to log in. If you give everybody the same email address, you're trying everything you do to one identity," Ricardo Signes, chief technology officer of Fastmail, told Lifewire via email.

Help Yourself

To use this new 1Password and Fastmail mashup, you must first connect your accounts. Then, whenever you sign up for a new service, using 1Password to create a password, you can also create a new email address. Any email arriving at that address will arrive in your inbox, as usual.

"'In-the-know' email people have used masked email addresses for years."

But how do you clean up the mess you’ve already made? The bad news is, you can’t. The good news is, like planting a tree, the second best time to start is now. Your old email address is probably beyond saving, but from now on, you can do better. 

"Just having one email address for friends and one for companies goes a long way. Having one for each company goes further," says Signes. "If you've been using one address for everything for a long time, it's not really possible to undo, but starting fresh is easy, especially when you can use aliases to keep getting mail for your old address as long as you like."

Was this page helpful?