Email Security

Virus

90% of viruses are received by email. This fact makes email security of utmost importance. Here are some ways to protect you computer from threats by email:
  1. Anti-Virus - Some anti-virus programs will erase viruses that are received by attachment when they get into your computer, others redirect your email to their servers and erase them before they even get to your computer. It is important that you use an anti-virus program that has email scanning capabilities. Some popular AVís are Norton, McAfee, ETrust EZ AV, Kaspersky and AVG (Free).
  2. Never open attachments that have executable files with file extensions such as ".exe", ".bat", ".vbs" or ".com". See the web page Safe and Unsafe File Extensions if you are not sure. If you have any doubt, do not open the attachment!
  3. Turn your Outlook/Outlook Express preview pane option off. Previewing an email actually opens an email, and lets the virus loose. For instructions on how to do that see http://cybercoyote.org/security/prevpane.htm
  4. Keep your Windows upated and install the latest Service Pack. It is also important to keep your browser up-to-date as it may interact with your email client (such as Outlook Express).
  5. Your email client should be configured so that ActiveX, Java and Javascripts wonít run automatically. In Outlook and Outlook Express, this is done through the settings for the Restricted Sites security zone (Tools | Options | Security). Choose Custom Level and scroll through the list of options, and set the option button for each ActiveX, Java and/or scripting setting to either "disabled" or "prompt".
Email Spoofing

A spoofed email comes from a legitimate looking sender, only they are not truly representatives of that company. Some examples are official looking emails received from Ebay asking consumers to reply with personal information, such as their credit card number, social security number or account password OR an email from Microsoft requesting that you click on the link in order to update your Windows, with the link sending you to a spoofed address which will actually infect you with a virus (Example).

Spam

Spam is one of the major problems most people have regarding email. Here are a few tips of how to avoid spam:
  1. Never unsubscribe to any email that you have not subscribed to. Unsubscribing only tells the sender that your email address is valid/active, and you will then get a lot more spam.
  2. Never use your real email address in public forums or similar. Spammers scan the whole internet looking for email addresses!
  3. Use Mailwasher to preview your email headers on the ISPís server and erase them before they get to your computer.
  4. It is preferable to use an anti-spam product that gives you the option of using as many filtering methods as possible. This will let you choose which method works best for you. Some of these methods are public blacklists (DNSBL), Bayesian Filtering, country blacklists and a bozo filter. Spampal is a free program that uses these and other methods.
Prepared by TJolly, Usil, P3-450 and Supersparks