We have a very good Spam filter, but still every now and then a phishing email will slip through. My business email is easy to find so I get a wide assortment of unsolicited emails. This week I received a deviation on a scam that has been around for years – your package was returned and click this link to get it. I also received one that my LogMein SSL Certificate had been suspended – click here to fix. Of course, the links are malicious and at least, would come with some irritating pop-ups and at worse, steal your identity, seize your system and ruin your computer.
These exploits are designed to cause an immediate emotional response that will make you click before your think. Because if you look closer, the fraud is apparent. The mail and parcel carriers do not typically use email for package routing information although some will let you elect mobile or email notification. The body of the emails usually have spelling or grammatical errors and often the links take you to strange sites. A suspended LogMein SSL Certificate is a problem, but too suspicious to believe the email.
If you think the issue may be real, do some additional research but don’t click any links. Even with legitimate emails, your clicks are tracked by embedded links. So if you don’t want to be tracked or scammed, avoid links.
You already know these tips for protecting yourself, but let’s review:
1. Have a good Spam Filter. Still about 90% of the emails sent worldwide are Spam and many are malicious. A good filter will catch most Spam.
2. Use virus protection. Even if you use a great Spam Filter, you still need virus protection for those threats that slip through. We like Symantec for our business users.
4. Do not open files or click links in emails unless you trust and know the source. And even if you know and trust the source be sure it is a real email from them. Email accounts can be hacked and malicious emails sent from your friend’s account.
5. If you think you are infected, consult an expert. If it looks really bad, disconnect your computer from the network or Internet. If it looks really, really bad, turn off your computer until help is available.
6. Don’t put your credit card information in those pop-ups that guarantee to remove the infection, they are scams.
7. Don’t forward email unless absolutely necessary. This is not only for security but for proper etiquette as well. If you have to forward something be sure it is not a hoax and that the recipient wants to receive. If you have to send that funny joke, be sure to have the recipient’s permission.
We look at online threats constantly, but sometimes there is one so good that even the experts are initially fooled.