Spotting Email Threats

Spotting Email Threats

Email has become a commonality in the way that we do business or even just interact with one another. It would be hard to imagine how else we would communicate without the evolution of electronic mail. Modern email systems operate through the Internet or across computer networks and are based on a store-and-forward model.  This is a vast improvement to early email systems that require that the author and recipient are both online at the same time.

A store-and-forward model entails that email servers accept, forward, deliver and store messages. In comparison to earlier models, users do not need to be online at the same time as they are only required to briefly connect to a mail server for as long as sending and receiving messages takes.

Every advancement online comes with territorial threats. You have probably come across spam or might have even been ‘phished’ for personal information. Spam can be defined as the electronic version of junk mail that is sent to multiple recipients. Most of these messages are related to get-rich schemes, debt reduction plans and gambling opportunities or may cover any wide range of topics.

Phishing is when identity thieves are looking to get information from you through sending spam or pop-up messages that appear to look like legitimate businesses. These phishers carry victims to counterfeit websites that trick you to divulge information they may need to steal your identity or preform fraudulent acts. Phishing emails also contain malicious programs or viruses that secretly download to your computer and gather your personal information.

We have jotted down some useful tips for you to avoid being bothered by irritating spammers and phishers:

Some tips on responding appropriately to spam:

  • Be cautious of where you display your email address and avoid passing it onto anyone other than family, friends and business associates
  • Use spam-blocking utilities that are available from your ISP. You can also manage the spam blocking rules and features you have available on Microsoft Outlook Express
  • Never respond to spam even though it may have an ‘Unsubscribe’ link available.

Some tips on spotting phishing emails

  • Watch out for careless spelling and bad grammar as legitimate companies would have proof read it prior to sending the email out.
  • Be wary of generic greetings – most companies will address you by your name or username.
  • Scammers use scare tactics to trick victims into sending personal information – keep an eye out for account suspensions or cancellation warnings.