Are Your Emails Safe?

Are Your Emails Safe?

Hi my name is Eric Wenzel and I am a Network Technician at Alexssa Enterprises LTD. In today’s society email is one of the more popular forms of communication between businesses and how people get in touch with you. Over the years email security has improved tremendously but does that mean that you’re 100 % safe from viruses and hackers? The answer to that question is unfortunately no.

Today people are receiving emails every day that contain all different types of viruses from Crypto Locker (which is a virus that encrypts your files so that you cannot read them (unless you pay a ransom fee) to viruses that steal your saved credentials on your pc. With all these viruses around it is important to take note of a couple guidelines to follow so you do not fall prey to these viruses. Before we discuss these guidelines let’s review a possible fraudulent email together. These are just some of the many examples that should hint at the legitimacy of the emails. If you look below I have a created a sample of possible virus containing email. First off some virus infected emails stress some type of urgency in the subject. Such as “Open Email Immediately” or “Your bank account is compromised! Follow Instructions to resolve” and so on. Another clue that you may see in the email is that the sender has attached a zip file which you must extract to view contents. In addition to zip files the viruses can be run from a word file or excel file that when you open it runs the potential virus. There are many differences types of files that can contain viruses the important thing to remember is Do not under any circumstance open these files! What these hackers do is hide the virus inside a file to disguise its true nature and even in conventional files like word, excel, and others. So that recipient will click the file not knowing what the file actually contains and they download a virus. Another potential clue is a bad link inside the email as illustrated in the image. The links you may see are not nearly as obvious as this one, and can be difficult to figure out whether they are bad or not. One simple way to possibly detect if the link is bad is to mouse over it. DO NOT CLICK! Just hover your mouse pointer over the link and look at the small window that will show. It will show the destination of the embedded link. Look closely at the website and make sure that you trust the website before clicking on the link.

These are just some indications that may suggest an email that contains a virus. Although if you have found an email that has not shown any these hints listed above, that does not necessarily mean that the email is legitimate. You must always be skeptical of the origins of the email even if the sender is someone you recognize. There are ways for these hackers to send you an email and disguise their address. For example, the email will show it is from someone you may know, however it may actually be coming from someone else entirely. This act is called Spoofing.

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As discussed earlier, exercise great caution opening files or clicking on links in suspicious emails, the email may not be safe and always be skeptical. First, if you find an email that you suspect may be suspicious or uncharacteristic of the sender, NEVER open the email. By simply opening the email can lead to an infection on your pc. Secondly, if you have any sort of suspicion on the legitimancy of the email, call the sender. This is a definitive way of finding out whether the person actually sent the email and it will be a good excuse to actually talk to someone for a change. Thirdly, if you have not followed these steps and you have fallen victim to a virus infected email, shutdown your device. This will ensure that you do not continue to spread the virus to other devices in your network. I hope this letter has enlightened you to vulnerabilities in emails that we have today.