Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid With Email Security

If you are using an email client or a Web-based email service, there are countless ways that hackers can trap you into downloading malicious files, without your knowledge or consent. If you are new to using email or are unaware of some of the ways that hackers can violate your email client, here are a few of the most common mistakes email users do that compromise the security of their email service.

Maintaining Only One Email Account

A lot of email users make the mistake of only maintaining one email account. The account is used for personal messages, business messages, and to sign up for subscriptions and other online services. What happens as a result is that you increase the likelihood of a hacker installing a malicious file, because the number of spam messages is greater when you only have one email account.

It is important to remember to obtain more than one email account for email protection. One account should be used for business, one for personal use, and the other as an address for signing up for subscriptions and online services.

Confusing BCC with CC

Many people who are new to email confuse the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) feature with the Carbon Copy (CC) feature. When they are sending the email to more than one person, they enter all of the addresses in the Carbon Copy feature where everyone else can view the addresses. This opens up you email account to a host of spam as well as "zombie" attacks that use your email account to send malicious files without your knowledge. Always remember to use the Blind Carbon Copy feature where all of the email addresses will be hidden from view.

Forgetting to Delete Files in the Cache

If you are using a computer on a public network system it is important to remember to delete the files in your browser cache, as well as the history of websites you visited and the passwords that you used. Depending upon the configuration of browser and security settings, often the computer keeps track of all this information while you are browsing the Internet and performing normal tasks. If you forget to delete this information, it is possible for someone to gain access to your email account as well as other personal information that is password protected.

Not Being Able to Recognize Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are attempts to trick you into revealing your personal information. These types of attacks generally occur through email messages that make you believe the message is from legitimate source. The hacker tricks you into revealing personal information by threatening to discontinue your account if you do not do so. The best way around this is to contact your financial source directly to find out if they actually sent the message or if it is a bogus message from someone with criminal intent.

Answering Spam Messages

Avoid answering messages from unknown sources in an attempt to get removed from their mailing list. By replying to the message you are telling the spammer that your email account is active and you will continue to receive even more spam. Instead, for your email protection, simply list the email under "blocked emails" in your account or delete the message altogether.

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser