The 5 dumbest things to do with email spam: how many do you do?
Seriously, spam is very dangerous these days. It used to be just a nuisance that would clog up our email-received lists with marketing pitches for products…some of which we might want—most of which we didn’t. However, now cybercriminals use email messages to lure us to reply or click on links (some activate merely by opening it) that will lead to an injection of malware onto our computers. They do this to steal our personal identification, steal funds from our bank and credit card accounts, and/or turn our computers into a slave robot (bot) that will send similar sinister emails to our email list of friends and associates. All at the command of the cybercriminal’s central control computer. These messages that try to lure us are called “phishing” emails because they’re baiting us and hoping we’ll bite the bait and be hooked…like a fish. However, they’re still spam…unwanted and unrequested email messages.
Most email software looks for spam and either deletes it or files it in a spam or trash folder for you to decide whether you want to keep it or not. That’s a help, and you should treat these “flagged” emails as guilty until proven innocent. However, there are other email messages, particularly the “phishing” kind, that won’t be caught by the spam filter; some even from your friends and associates. Therefore, you must develop a discipline in dealing with emails that will result in keeping your computer…and your bank account, safe. You can begin by turning the 5 dumbest things above into a best practice against spam; just put a “Don’t” in front of each one and tape it to your computer’s display to remind you what to do and not do. Next, you can become more educated about email, spam, phishing, and malware by visiting US CERT’s tips on safe computing.
Remember: be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
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Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.