We spend a lot of time on our computers, including our smartphones. Because we use them so much, it can be easy to become casual about security and let our guard down. Whether it is for work, personal or entertainment we need to be aware of the bad and the ugly that may effect us negatively.
What is spam?
According to Wikipedia: “Email spam, also referred to as junk email or simply spam, is unsolicited messages sent by bulk email.” It is estimated that 85-90% of all emails are spam. As the receiver you spend your time and energy deleting the spam messages without opening or, if opened, you may deal with phishing or malware.
What email providers say about reducing spam: Most email providers describe filter systems to identify spam. If spam gets to your inbox, they provide instructions to improve the filter. Those emails can be sent to the spam folder, but if they still get through the filter more action is needed.
When I looked at the instructions from the major providers, they were all similar. You identify the spam and mark it as spam or block.
For detailed instructions, do a web search for how to block spam using your domain. You will also find information on how to add senders to your blocked list.
What is phishing?
According to the Computer Security Resource Center, phishing is “a technique for attempting to acquire sensitive data, such as bank account numbers, through a fraudulent solicitation in email or on a web site, in which the perpetrator masquerades as a legitimate business or reputable person.” The cybercriminals want the money from your account, to make purchases using your credit cards or steal your identity.
The email may be enticing. Complete a survey for a $100 gift card or another prize. If it sounds to good to be true, do not do it.
How to protect yourself from phishing: According to Office of the Comptroller of the Currency,
• Never provide your personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or over the internet.
• If you believe the contact may be legitimate, contact the financial institution yourself.
• Never provide your password over the phone or in response to an unsolicited internet request.
• Review account statements regularly to ensure all charges are correct.
If you get an email from a business you have made a purchase from, rather than clicking on the link, type in the known web address.
What is malware?
According to Wikipedia, malware is “software intentionally designed to cause disruption to a computer, server, client, or computer network, leak private information, gain unauthorized access to information or systems, deprive users access to information or which unknowingly interferes with the user’s computer security and privacy.”
How to prevent malware intrusions? Use anti-malware programs. Do not open emails or attachments from unknown senders.