Corporate Responsibility

How to handle email securely

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More caution will keep you immune to Trojans and viruses.

Email is still the gateway most frequently used for computer viruses, Trojans, and other malware. As easy and convenient as it is to use email, there are several ground rules you should follow to protect yourself.

Hackers need your help

Initially, an email infected with a virus or Trojan in your inbox is harmless. The scammer is depending on your help to complete his criminal act. If an infected email is simply deleted, nothing can happen.

Follow these basic rules to give your email more security

  • If you do not know who sent an email, do not click any links in it. Even if the URL that it points to looks legitimate at first glance, it may already have transferred malicious code to your computer.  
  • You should never open any attachment in an email from an unknown sender. 
  • Checking the sender of the email one time too many is better than checking it one time too few. Special characters or reversed letters are suspicious, but an unusual spelling of a business name that is actually well known can also be suspect.
  • If you know the sender, scan the file attachment with a virus scanner before opening it.
  • Always look at the subject line of a message. Generally, it will already tip you off to suspicious content. It may be a phishing mail particularly if you are asked to update your contact data or it refers to a debit . Phishing emails often have incorrect grammar. 
  • Do not reply to suspicious emails. The sender may simply be checking to see if the email address is valid.
  • Many antivirus programs offer the function of automatically monitoring your inbox. Enable this option.
  • It is best to disable HTML format in your email program. You should also decline the option of “reloading” images in emails from senders who are unknown to you, because that, too, can be risky. Images can also contain malicious code that then reaches your system unawares, or the link has been prepared to do this.  
  • Enable the spam filter in your email program. This will filter out many of the possibly dangerous, unwanted messages without your even seeing them. 

Protect yourself from spam

Spam is becoming increasingly targeted – the senders receive the addresses from lists that are traded on forums created for that purpose. 

You yourself can actively help to cut down on the number of unwanted emails you receive

  • Be restrictive about where you post your email address. Whether in forums or comments on blogs – if it is not absolutely necessary, do not leave your address on public sites. Spammers have special programs that automatically use websites and search engines to scan for email addresses.
  • You generally have to leave an email address to enter a contest or download a free game. Use temporary addresses for this purpose. These valid email addresses are only good for a few hours, meaning that you receive the anticipated reply by clicking on a download link or confirming your registration. After that, the address is deleted again. You get what you wanted, but your inbox remains clean. Below are some providers of such temporary addresses:
    • Mailinator
    • Spambog
    • Spoofmail

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