Friday, August 9, 2013

How to keep your email safe…

Spam isn’t only annoying but it is also dangerous to users.  Attackers often send vast broadcasts with misleading IP addresses and email addresses.  Over 27 million Americans have been a victim of identity theft in the past five years.  More than 9 million people found their identities were stolen last year alone.
If a spammer gets a hold of both a company’s email and IP adress, the impact can be disastrous.  The company’s Internet connection would be terminated by it’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) if its an email that is added on the black list of spamming addresses.  It is very important to guard all gateways of a network.  Having a firewall and anti-virus software sometimes isn’t enough to keep you safe.  An intrusion detection system(IDS) is good to have, this system makes sure nobody is able to access your network without permission.
We have gotten a little wiser when it comes to email spams and scams.  Cybercriminals are also doing their homework and becoming more clever with these scams.  An email scam might start out with a bill that’s owed or even a wedding invitation from a friend.

Here are a few tips for keeping your email safe:

  • Look at the IP address
Check the link from the sender by hovering over the email address, make sure the link looks legit and makes sense.

  • Be careful with shortened URLs
Twitter uses URL shorteners but be cautious if you receive one in your email. Ask yourself why would anyone not want to show the company they are sending an email from.

  • Telephone numbers aren’t guaranteed telephone
Even if the email looks professional and has a telephone number, it can be a cyber-criminal trick. The phone number may lead you to a scammer requesting for personal information.

  • Don’t give out your email address
Giving out your email address is a bad idea. Electric companies in the U.S. were targeted with a “spear phishing” attack, which used information on company websites. Also be aware of the uncertainty of putting your email address public to social networks or Craigslist.

  • Don’t auto load images
Don’t configure your email settings to where images are automatically downloaded. This will send a signal to spammers and the images sent to you are stored onto their servers with your email connected to them.

  • Don’t spam yourself
Be mindful of filling out internet forms. Don’t click on the “I want to receive information”, box unless you truly trust the company. Even if the company is reputable, your email could possibly be passed on to other lists.

  • Don’t store important information in your “Sent” folderSent folder
Bank account information, credit card numbers, and passwords are not safe in your “Sent” folder. These details can be picked up by spammers very easily.

  • Make recovery questions hard
Questions like your first job or your mothers maiden name can be found very easily. Choose something harder, or if possible  make up your own question.

Unless we are aware of the possibilities of how these cyber criminals are take our identity and personal info, we will not know who to prevent it from happening.  Make sure you always have strong passwords and an up-to-date anti-virus on your computer.  Be cautious when connecting to open Wifi spots and consider a multi-factor authentication to add extra security to your system.   Fortunately, the U.S. Federal Government and email service providers have been taking steps to reduce and hopefully eliminate spam email.

Bulletproof Inbox: Tips for staying safe (and sane) on email – WeLiveSecurity
August 2, 2013
Ten Scariest Hacking Statistics – StopTheHacker
April 20, 2013
Email hacking – Wikipedia
What is Email Spam? – Comm100

Thumbnail image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] /

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  1. Iv'e had my email account hacked many times, i don't know why but i always seem to get hacked somehow and i always seem to get spam emails requesting my details to transfer funds, i always block them but still seem to get more like they set up new email addresses and add my email address to that account so i just keep getting them no matter what.

    1. I've had that problem as well. Sometimes this is caused by entering into a phishing site. Some site will as you to click on a check box to agree to enter or for something else and that check box was an agreement to sell your email to other companies. It's kind of like when you get a lot of junk mail to your house. You wonder how people know where you live.

      Just be careful with your information and when I get an email I don't want, I always scroll down to the bottom and opt out of it. When the wrong company gets a hold of your email address they may be handing it over to hundreds.