Author: Marcelo Pedro, Web Designer and Developer
If you’ve read our article on password security, you’re probably aware that unfortunately, the world is full of hackers. However, it’s not only passwords that are targeted, but emails are a big target as well. Ever received an email that looks very legitimate, but it turns out it was a big scam? Yep, you’re not the only one. We’ve all been there…
So we thought we would go over 5 basic security steps regarding emails, and despite most being well known, a little reminder is always welcome.
So with no further ado, let’s do this!
1- DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK
We all take that one for granted, thinking we know better and only elderly people less familiar with tech are sadly affected… well my friends, think again.
When an email account is compromised, it’s then often used to send malicious emails to all of its contacts, which may look all nice and innocent at first, until that YouTube link turns out to be a regretful one.
So when in doubt, don’t be afraid of appearing slightly paranoiac (aka me) and do ask the person who sent you the email if it’s a genuine one.
Note: A good tip about URL links is to place your mouse cursor over it WITHOUT CLICKING! This will display the real URL that’ll redirect you at the bottom left of your browser window and is a good way to spot if the real link is completely different from what appears on the email.
2- NOPE, IT’S NOT URGENT (UNLESS IT’S YOUR BOSS)
Ever received an email about some sort of issue that requests your urgent reaction by following the link?
We’re all pretty aware of ’email phishing scams’, but not to underestimate our reaction to panic and fear is the main point here.
Despite most of these emails being pretty silly and easy to spot, some eventually can trigger unexpected reactions.
When in doubt, get in touch with the company that (supposedly) originated the email, but never EVER via the email itself or any of the details (phone number or email address) it provides as a secondary form of contact (i.e. look them up yourself via an online search on their official website).
3- A GIFT? YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE
You just received an attached file, so it must be important! Besides, it’s from someone you know so what’s the danger?
Well, chances are that the next thing you may be doing is:
“Hi there, I’m calling with regards to a problem with my computer…”
Harmful code can be inserted and sent alongside pretty much any file type, so here too, do your basic checks beforehand (i.e. check with the person who sent it before opening anything).
4- IT’S FINE, EVERYONE DOES IT
Although this one isn’t necessarily specific to emails, public WiFi is a NO NO!
Unless you have taken some steps to increase your online security, it is a very bad idea to use public WiFi for the very reason that whatever you do there (history, user login details, passwords…) can potentially be collected by anyone with network access.
5- WHAT DO YOU MEAN MORE?
Yup, you may well react like Michael Scott (the amazing guy above from The Office US television show), but if you haven’t done so yet, we advise that you seriously consider getting multiple email addresses for each of your needs (professional, personal, website, etc.), so that if anything happens to one, the others would hopefully remain unaffected.
Note: make sure that all accounts use different passwords, otherwise that ultimately defeats the purpose of having multiple ones, as it would take a savvy hacker no time to know what the others are and get access to them as well thanks to your superb (not) single password.
So if that’s the case, SHAME ON YOU (and correct that asap)! Of course, we’ve got your back on this one too, so grab a cup of tea and read our other article on password security…we’re sure you’ll thank us later.
So there you have it, 5 tips (or simple reminders) to keep you safe(r) online, but to sum it all up very briefly, we would say that you shouldn’t be afraid of looking silly for asking; at the end of the day, it’s feels SOOOO much better to be safe than sorry.
With that in mind, stay safe(r)!