The Best Protection Against Email Malware

The Best Protection Against Email Malware

Having up to date, quality protection against Malware, and especially Ransomware, is critical to your privacy and security online.  But there’s one tool in the arsenal of defense that might surprise you — one that could likely use a little polishing as the threat landscape becomes even more difficult to navigate.

IT’S YOU!!  Most infections these days come when someone clicks on an attachment, a link in an email, a link in Facebook, or stumbles across an infected website while doing research.  The common denominator here is the one driving the mouse.  The one who clicked on that “Thing” and now has a problem.  What’s a person to do?  How do you know when you are about to be in trouble:

10 Tips To Prevent Malware Attacks

  1. THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!  Whenever you click on anything — you are giving your permission for whatever is lurking on the other end, to do its thing on your computer.  With 80% of all email being spam — the odds are pretty good you’ll get infected.  No tool in the world will protect when YOU have given your permission.
  2. Don’t click on that attachment or URL.  You say: “Yeah, but………  I want to see what Aunt Suzy sent, Or, it’s a bill I need to pay, Or, I was waiting for a package, Or, Or, Or……”    Place a mental image of Rusty in your mind saying: “Don’t Do It – DON’T DO IT!”  There are legitimate cases where you might want to open an attachment.  If you are absolutely sure, proceed carefully.  If you don’t click and it is legit — the sender will likely try again, or you can get it another way — perhaps go directly to the vendor and download from their site.
  3. Use a code word in the subject line.  Contact those you might normally expect an attachment from.  Have them put a code word in the subject line for you.  Something simple that will tell you it’s really from them. Maybe something like: “It’s Me” or their initials.  If the message doesn’t have those code words — delete it!
  4. Don’t give your log in credentials when asked via email.  If it comes to you in an email or even online — and says you need to enter your credentials or this will happen……  Bring back that same image:  “Don’t Do It!”
  5. Check the target URL before clicking.  Check the actual address of a link before clicking by hovering over it.  Know where you are being directed before you get there. If it looks odd or like gibberish to you: “Don’t Do It!”  Don’t click on a shortened URL – there’s no way to tell where it really goes.
  6. Use your preset bookmarks.  Create a list of bookmarks for sites where you do business and have logon credentials.  NEVER, EVER click on the link that comes from a bank or credit card.  If you need info on your bank or credit card — go through the shortcut that you have placed in your browser and have used before.  If you have a package coming in or get a message with tracking details — go directly to UPS, or FedEx and track it from there.
  7. Type the URL or address directly into the browser. Don’t do a search for common sites you visit all the time.  It’s handy yes — but most of the items at the top of that search list are ads or bad sites.  The bad guys know that.  They are happy to pay a few bucks for ads, to get some new victims.  So many times — you’ll end up getting directed to some dark alley in lower Slobovia instead of the site you really wanted to visit.  Confirm the site through use.  Always go directly there by typing it into the address bar or better yet use the bookmark that you have in your browser from your last good visit there.
  8. Use Two Factor Authentication if possible.  Gmail accounts have 2FA available.
  9. Change your email password more often.  Some people have been using the same password for years.  You should change it at least every six months.  Use something longer like a phrase you can remember.  Longer passwords or phrases offer better protection than a short complicated one.
  10. Use webmail, not the app on the computer.   Use your browser instead of a program or app that downloads to your computer like Outlook.  In the Google world, you should be getting better protection on the web, than if you sync to a local client like Outlook.  If you don’t download all that junk to your computer — there’s less chance of an infection — as long as you don’t click on the attachment. 🙂
  11. Bonus Tip: Check it from your phone first – before downloading to your computer.

As always, please give me a call whenever I can help.  I’m here to help Relieve Your Computer Frustrations – to Cure the Headaches.  Let me know where you need help and what topics you’d like to see here month.

Please pass this along to your friends who might benefit!!  Until next time……

Have a Great Day,
Rusty Lee