Malware and phishing scams have been increasing at unprecedented rates recently. Here are some tips to help you out.

  1. An increase in hijacked and spoofed e-mail addresses. Spammers have discovered new ways to make it appear as though their spam e-mail is coming from YOUR computer. This could result in having your Internet connection terminated or put on hold by your ISP - all without your knowledge. That is why good spam blocking software will not only block inbound spam from your inbox, but also unauthorized outbound spam from your serves.
2. An increase in viruses-carrying spam. Accidentally open a spam e-mail carrying a nasty virus and you can end up with big problems ranging from the slowing of your system to more serious threats such as system crashes, data loss, identity theft, redirecting your web browser to porn sites, and more.
3. Phishing spam. A phishing e-mail appears to be a legitimate e-mail from a bank, vendor, friend, or other trusted source. The purpose is to trick you into giving confidential information such as bank accounts, social security numbers, passwords, and credit card information. You’ve probably already received a PayPal or bank spam e-mail that said your account was going to be closed unless you verified your information. It then directs you to a very convincing web site where you input certain information the spammer is trying to glean. In reality, this is a malicious third party that is going to use your information to open credit card accounts, access your account, steal money, and cause you other major identity and financial problems.  

So what can we do about this?

1. Use a disposable e-mail address

A disposable e-mail address is one that you check, but not often and one you can just delete, or never come back to if it gets over loaded with spam. Use this e-mail address for non-essential sign-up processes. These would be things that are not filled with your personal data, so definitely not for facebook, twitter, linkedin, banks. Use these for signing up to blogs and downloading freebies.

2. Pay attention to check boxes that automatically opt you in

As above, for very important accounts that contain lots of information about you like your social media accounts, make sure you use a very secure email address. These will still likely send you E-mails you don’t want, so make sure you un-tick that box. In Australia, it is illegal to have the box pre-ticked. However, it is also illegal not to have your ABN on your website. Not everyone does this, and not everyone makes sure the box is un-ticked.

3. Don’t post your legitimate email address on your website, web forums, or newsgroups

Make sure for these addresses, you have an email address that you check, but it is a disposable.

4. If you know it’s SPAM, don’t open it, reply or opt-out

Spam emails can contain malicious code, often hidden inside of images, or attachments. If you click unsubscribe it can take you to a malicious web domain and replying will give them access to information about who you are. Information they probably don’t already have.