Emails and Online Security

Almost everybody has some kind of Internet personality that they can’t do without. Simply put, this technology has become so much a part of our lives. Everyday, we log on to the different social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace or we make a search on things that interest us or even those that we’re required to research about in school or at work. Some people get online simply to play online games while some are there to update themselves on the latest news. Somehow, someway, people are going to find a reason to be connected to the web and this has become an undeniable reality today.

Although this technology has brought us major conveniences we could only dream of before, it has also put us at risk to a certain degree. Emails, which are normal, everyday things we attend to, are, in fact, the most potent carriers of online threats. While most of us think they’re but a tiny innocent speck in this whole Internet craze, emails could be powerful enough to spread the most destructive of these threats though malicious programs hidden behind spam mail and attachments. It is, therefore, very crucial that every Internet user knows how to handle these things if he and his system are to stay safe.

The most basic rule when it comes to protecting oneself from possibly hazardous emails is avoidance of opening attached files from suspicious sources. Usually, these attachments come with emails from people you don’t know and are usually accompanied by very enticing text such as those claiming that you have won some lottery or grant from a foreign donor. In most cases, the message comes with an empty message field and an attractive subject with the attached file. This is certainly something you’re better off deleting. What you would definitely want to stay away from are those attachments with the .exe file extension. However, don’t be too complacent still as these executable files may also come with hidden or disguised extensions.

If you’re thinking about how opening these attachments could possibly cause you damage, there are actually many ways. For example, if the file you opened is infected with malicious code, your computer will definitely be affected. A virus will embed itself into your hard drive and start damaging your files immediately. Or it can collect personal information such as credit card details and send this back to the one who made the virus. This type of program can even pull up all your contacts and spread itself among them. In other words, just one malicious file opened in one email could wreak havoc in incredible proportions. Remember that millions of Internet users open their emails each day. You can just imagine how fast things could spread around.

When it comes to email threats, spams are yet another. Essentially, they do not pose a threat to your computer but somehow, they can get very annoying. Spam mails are those that offer you various deals about anything from skin care products to ad tracking software. While these emails are merely for marketing purposes, they still can get very bothersome especially for someone who doesn’t appreciate being targeted for any type of advertisement.

And then, there’s phishing which is carried out through an email that attempts to create a false urgency for the receiver to reveal sensitive information such as banking passwords and PINs with the sender usually posing as a bank official. If identity theft is the last thing you want to deal with, do not, by all means, reveal anything confidential through email. Besides, legitimate banks and companies never seek information of this nature through the Internet.

Source by Brad M Smith

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