What Spammers Don't Want You to Know
Warning: Spam e-mails are annoying. We can all agree on that. But worse than that, spam emails are actually becoming more and more dangerous to your personal privacy and the security of your network. Millions of computer users are getting infected, spoofed, and tricked by spam e-mails every year. This can result in forcing end users to pay big fees to clean and restore their workstations and servers.
Here are 3 dangers that all computer users must be aware of in today’s world:
- There has been a large increase in spoofed e-mail addresses.
Spammers have discovered new ways to make it appear as though their spam e-mail is coming from YOUR true email address. This is why good spam blocking software will not only block inbound spam from your inbox, but also unauthorized outbound spam from your servers.
- There is an increase in virus-carrying spam.
Accidentally open a spam e-mail carrying a nasty virus and you can end up with big problems ranging from the slowing of your system to more serious threats such as your data being encrypted.
- Phishing spam.
A phishing e-mail appears to be a legitimate e-mail from a bank, vendor, friend, or other trusted source. The sender is attempting to trick you into giving confidential information such as bank accounts, passwords, and credit card information. I bet you’ve seen things like a PayPal or bank spam e-mail that said your account was going to be closed unless you verified your information. If you click on it, it’s going to redirect you to a site that looks convincing, but really someone on the backend is collecting the information you’re about to enter and you don’t even notice.
Now that we know some ways in which spam emails appear, what can we do to stay vigilant?
There are no regulations on stopping spammers, so as email users, we need to take all the precautions necessary to avoid spammers winning.Here are a few other ways to reduce your chances of ending up on a spammer’s list. These are super simple steps that everyone can do!
1. Pay attention to check boxes that automatically opt you in.
We have all bought something online. Most of the time, when you do buy something online, the seller attempts to get you on their email list by missing the small checkbox that says something along the lines of “Yes! I want to receive offers from third party companies.” Many times, this is overlooked. Make sure you uncheck that box or read the fine print very carefully when making online purchases.
2. Don’t post your main e-mail address on your web site, web forums, or newsgroups.
Spammers have special programs that can collect e-mail addresses from web sites without your permission. If you are going to sign up or post on web forums or newsgroups, try to use a generic, disposable e-mail address instead of your main e-mail address.
Typically, we see people using email addresses such as “info@” and that way the emails won’t interfere with your main email box.
3. Create throwaway e-mail accounts.
Next time you sign up for a newsletter, title your email address the name of the website. That way, you’ll know exactly where the spam was being sent to. For example, if the web site is titled “www.greatwidgets.com,” enter "firstname.lastname@example.org" as your e-mail address.
If email@example.com shows up as the original recipient, you know the source since that e-mail address was unique to that web site. Since you know the source, you can easily stop the spam by making any e-mail sent to that address bounce back to the sender.
4. Do not open or reply to obvious spam e-mails.
By opening or replying to a spam email, you’re signaling the source that this email address is in fact, active.
Even clicking an opt-out link can be tricky. Only opt-out of an email or reply if the email was from a company that you personally know or do business with.
In today’s world, it’s critical that you utilize a quality spam blocking software as the first line of defense. Not only do we need to be aware as end users of the things noted above, we have a better fighting chance if we put in place a spam blocking tool to further help protect the security of you and the network.
However, not all spam blockers are created equal, and some can end up blocking important e-mails you want to receive and be a pain in the neck to manage. That is why it’s important to consult with a professional on what type of tool you’re looking for and what types of emails you still need to receive.
At the highest level, you need to make sure your spam filter automatically blocks e-mails coming from invalid e-mail addresses to your domain and that there is a level of user control with it. Almost 90% of spam is sent to invalid e-mail address. By blocking those, you can help to remove a lot of the spam you receive. The user control will allow each individual to configure their own set of rules. An employee in marketing might need to receive different emails than an employee in accounting. This makes sure each employee doesn’t miss out on those important emails.
If you have questions about spam filtering or best practices, call us at 844-365-4900 or send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org