Identity theft, viruses and worms, and scams are just some of the many threats that anyone with an email account can experience. Whether you use email correspondence as a mode of communication to your friends and family or you use it in your business, these threats will always be there. The only way to avoid these threats is to secure your email address from prying eyes and to use some common sense.
- Use a secure email client. Email spamming and phishing are prevalent in email communications. No matter how hard you try to keep your email address private, you will inevitably receive emails trying to deceive you in giving out your information. Using a secure email client is necessary for you to be able to effectively filter and block malicious emails. Email clients such as Microsoft’s Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird, Gmail, and Yahoo mail are some of the more popular email clients that have integrated email spamming security solutions. More often than not, spam emails will be filtered and redirected to your spam or junk folders freeing you from the hassle of having to manually filter spam and malicious emails and assist you in avoiding opening unverified emails and attachments that can potentially harm your computer or steal your personal information.
- Use firewalls and security solutions. Using a secure email or webmail client is not enough to ensure total security and protection from malicious emails. Installing security software suites and firewalls that provide email security can greatly add much needed protection. Norton Systems, McAfee, and Zone Alarm are just some of several solutions you can use that can provide a first and second level security from outside threats.
- Use common sense and do some detective work. If you receive an email from a person or organization you are not familiar with and passes through the security measures you have configured, common sense will dictate that you verify or do some form of validation on the source of the email before opening any attachment or replying to it. Doing an email address search via an online email directory or a domain name address search on the Internet is one of first steps you should do to validate the source of the email. You can also do an email lookup or an IP address look up as well. Emails come from a source IP address that you can see in your email or webmail client. There are different web services on the Internet where you can look up the owner of the IP or email address. Validation and verification through email search is common sense when encountering emails from an unfamiliar source.
- Protect your email address. Another way to reduce the threat of malicious emails targeting your email address is to only give your contact email to people you know and organizations you can trust. A lot of websites today, let visitors join their mailing lists or give, “supposedly secret”, information for as long as you register on their website with your email address. As soon as you register, you may start receiving a lot of various emails that have been validated and bypasses your security configurations. Before you sign up for any registration on any website, you must read the fine print and make sure that they won’t use your email address for any other mass marketing schemes. It is also wise not to post your contact email on any public forum or chat service. If you have a website, instead of placing your email address as the point of contact for potential customers, place a general feedback or inquiry form. This enables you to communicate with your customers without having to publicly post your contact email.
With various threats rampant on the Internet, it is common sense to protect your email address from malicious groups that will try to harm your way of life. An email from a supposed Nigerian princess offering to wire you thousands of dollars for as long as you send her your personal information is a great deal. Or is it?