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How to Make Your Yahoo Email More Secure

On Monday (Oct. 14), Yahoo told The Washington Post that the tech company plans to make all its Yahoo Mail connections secure in January.

That means users checking their Yahoo email accounts will enjoy the benefit of an encrypted connection, which can't be read by most hackers, by identity thieves or, perhaps, even by the National Security Agency.

However, Yahoo actually enabled encrypted connections, also known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections, as an option this past January. The feature simply has to be turned on manually.

MORE: 7 Ways to Lock Down Your Online Privacy

Here's how to turn it on in Yahoo's "new" Mail interface:

— Click the little gear cog at the top right of the Inbox screen.

— Scroll down and click "Settings."

— In the window that pops up, click "Security" in the left-hand navigation bar.

— Check the box marked "Use SSL," which is accompanied by the explanatory text, "Make your Yahoo Mail more secure with SSL (i.e. preventing others from accessing your account at Internet cafes)".

— Hit "Save."

In older interfaces of Yahoo Mail, look for a link or dropdown-menu item named "Options" or "Mail Options," then look for "Security."

Of course, you could just wait until January instead. However, Yahoo is way behind in the game: Google made SSL logins the default for Gmail in 2010, and Facebook did so earlier this year. 

Better to turn it on now, but make sure you have a strong password. All the SSL protection in the world can't help you if hackers can guess their way into your account.

Follow Paul Wagenseil at @snd_wagenseil. Follow Tom's Guide at @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.