Email is something we all use everyday and though it’s a medium we’re aware can have its own security issues, we all need to be more aware of them.
Here are 15 tips that will prevent you getting lax about your email security:
1) Never open email attachments. You may have heard in the past that you should never open any attachments from unknown senders and that still holds true to some degree. However, many times your friends, family, and colleagues can send viruses and spyware in their email attachments without their knowledge.
2) Make sure that your computer is protected by a firewall. You can find extensive information about setting up a personal firewall online if you are unsure of the process.
3) Make sure that you have a good anti-virus software installed and have it set to scan your system regularly. Many people have an anti-virus system on their computer but fail to run it or update it. This will not help to keep your system protected from new threats. The best practice is to keep your software set to automatically update, so you are always running the most recent update.
4) If you are running a Windows -based PC make sure the operating system is always up to date. This can be achieved by visiting Windows update on a weekly basis or setting it to automatically update.
5) Have anti-spyware software installed on your computer and use it at regular intervals. The same is true of your anti-virus software. Remember it will not work properly if it is not up to date or used on a regular basis.
6) Always check to make sure that your email program and browser are using the latest versions. More often than not they have the latest security patches installed
7) Always try to use a plain text editor as opposed to HTML formatting. Typically, HTML messages uses other formatting that will include graphics and colors that are not shown in plain text emails. While you may enjoy the brighter colors associated with HTML messages, they can typically include viruses much easier.
8) Try to stay away from Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook, unless you are required to use it for work. These programs contain too many security holes that can be dangerous to your information and system. Here are some other programs that are much safer to use on a daily basis:
10) Ensure that you take the time to change all of your passwords on a monthly basis. Never pick anything that is going to be obvious. Use the dictionary and choose random words, numbers, and punctuation.
11) Likewise, it is important that you never share your passwords with anyone. many times scammers will pretend to be someone in an authority like position asking for a password to diagnose your system. Quite simply, never do it!
12) When you are finished working on a project always log out of your email and browser, this is especially true if you are using a public computer. If there is no way to log out, just quit the application.
13) No matter how bad you want to do it, never reply to any type of SPAM message.
14) Be aware of chatbots and other similar programs as they may contact you via IM within your email.
15) Always take the time to backup all your email. If a problem arises in the future all your important documents will be protected.