BYTE ME: The power of filtering your inbox
STAYING on topic from last week's article about modern email threats, we have already discussed Phishing emails, Social Engineering emails and now need to look at Scam emails and Virus emails. A Scam email is wanting to get your money. It can be a tear-jerker playing on your good generosity and asking you to 'donate' money to a person because their story portraits the most unlucky story that you have heard of trial and tribulations and the need for urgent charitable donation.
The above Scam type email can also pretend to be about a speeding fine or a missed payment to the ATO or a late payment on a utility account (such as Ergon) that you have 'apparently' already received multiple reminders about and are now facing imminent disconnection if you don't pay now! Virus emails are among the worst kind as they can do untold damage from a single click. Viruses come via an email attachment and get released onto your PC when you go to access the attachment.
Many virus ridden email attachments will not look like they have done anything when your attempt to open them. You may not even see you PC give a 'blink' however you may well have activated a virus that is now eating away at your photos, documents, emails and account file - rending them useless to you.
This same virus can also be performing these same actions on any secondary internal hard drive or any USB thumb drive or external hard drive. As you can see from the above an email attachment can be quite disruptive.
So, how do we stop all this rubbish?
The simplest and most effective way to rid yourself of junk emails is to change your email address. If you do this then the lessons learned 'the first time around' will normally see you safeguarding your email address more tightly.
One option to consider is to keep your existing email for subscriptions and shopping purposes and to only check it online. You can then create a new email address specifically for communicating with known contacts.
One of the points above, in case you missed it is that a 'web based' email will 'normally' provide less hazards to the user since you are not physically downloading every email to your PC.
I use this system myself by having my Kerr Solutions email address for known communications and a gmail email address for more 'random' purposes.
Getting back on topic we also need to talk about email filtering. Most email hosting services offer a certain amount of filtering.
They can automatically remove some know spam emails which both frees up your time and can helps to keep you safe. However, the level or efficiency of this filtering is most often dubious at best.
We don't place much faith in these systems regardless of how much your email host crows about their performance.
If you are downloading emails to a computer based package such as Thunderbird, eMClient, Windows Live Main or Outlook there are several different 'options' built into these software packages that allow you to 'block' a sender or any sender from that domain. The worth of these options is also dubious as most spam houses change their sending domain names which circumvents this filter.
You can also spend 100's of hours creating a massive list of blocked senders only to lose this when changing PC's.
Next week we will look at an email filtering service that actually works and offers a return on investment that can be 50 times its minuscule monthly cost.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and Bruce is still contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.