Four ways to avoid a potentially harmful email damaging your system
Who is it from and are you expecting the email?
- Do you know this contact and is he/she reputable?
- Were you expecting an email with that subject line or that content?
- Is the content relevant to you personally or your place of work?
- Is there any reference to an attachment in the body of the email?
If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions then you should check with the sender as to whether it has directly come from them.
How would the sender have your email address?
- Have you ever given your bank your email address?
- Do you use this email address for Amazon purchases?
- Or is your email address on a website, LinkedIn, Facebook etc?
Scripts called Robots are used by search engines, such as Google, scan websites so they can categorise them for better search results. However, these Robots can also be used to collect email addresses, this database is then sold to marketing companies who use it to bombard you with spam, viruses and phishing scams. Removing your email address from being publically visible will help stop your email address from being collected and shared.
NEVER use a link from an email you’re not sure of.
By hovering over links and email addresses you can see where that link will take you. As you can see above the link (although it looks like it will take you to an Amazon page) will actually take you to the website of fmkportal.hu where a spoofed website is awaiting you to input your username and password for your Amazon account. Generally rule of thumb is to never ever use links in emails pertaining to website that requires a login, e.g Banks, Amazon, Hotmail, PayPal. If you want to check your Amazon account or any service that requires you to log in then use a web browser and navigate to the website yourself.
Do not open attachments you’re not sure of.
Were you expecting a proposition from your email contact? Do you know what type of file it is? If you don’t then consider contacting the sender by phone and asking them if they purposefully sent you the attachment.
Even genuine documents could have a viruses attached so make sure your anti-virus is up to date before opening.