Keeping Safe on the Internet Part 3

Feb 22, 2011

new messages

Email has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives, particularly in the business world. We correspond with coworkers, clients, partners, family members, and random acquaintances over email more frequently than we speak with them. With that said, our inboxes are filled most every day. So, should we treat all email equally?

Unless you have a significant spam problem or habitually sign up for mailing lists at every opportunity, a majority of your received emails are from senders that you know and trust. Still, pay attention to those messages also. While Aunt Betty might think nothing of sending you and fifty other recipients the latest screensaver, she might also not realize that there’s a key logger or virus embedded in her attachment. Being mindful that not all that send you emails might be as wary as you will help you to keep protected. Scan any and all attachments sent to you with updated antivirus software and use good judgment even after that.

Senders who you do not recognize obviously pose a threat to your computing habits. According to, over the past year over one trillion different emails classified as spam were sent, and that’s just the spam that they handled. Inevitably, with this amount of junk mail on the Internet, you will be exposed to it. If the sender or subject does not look reputable or you don’t recognize the sender, the side of safety says that you should delete the message without opening it. If you do need to open it, do not open attachments or reply to the message. Doing so could open you up to receiving even more spam emails. Even if you know the email is pure spam (think: Viagra/mortgages/Nigerian banking schemes), it can be unwise to click the “unsubscribe” link in their email. You may simply let them know that this is a valid email address and that can increase your load of daily junk mail.

Finally, there is etiquette to keep in mind with regards email. Remember that not everything you receive in email needs to be passed on to the entire contents of your address book. We’ve often seen emails that say we shouldn’t buy Pepsi or Coke on a certain day or that latest virus warning which says that the software not only wipes your computer of all its data, but it also empties your refrigerator of food and destroys your credit report. Think about the content of the email and the source of the email before you send it on. Does everyone really need to see this message? The same can be said of joke emails, motivational stories, or save the cat/dog/person/baby emails. Verify authenticity, determine the audience that should see them, and then feel free to click that forward button. If you’re unsure if an email message’s content is legitimate, an excellent website is Snopes.

For more information, please see these links:
SpamCop Statistics:

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