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10 Steps for Dealing with Dangerous Messages

This was taken from eWeek to stress the importance in dealing with dangerous messages. It contains trend facts and how you can help protect yourself. In summary, authorities and many companies have been taking down dangerous botnets that helped drive down the amount of spam flooding into businesses and consumer email accounts. Nevertheless, we are still not free from dangerous emails.

In one 2011 security report released, Cisco Systems found a “steep decline” in the volume of spams since August 2010. Here are some facts from this report:

  • The number of spam messages fell from 379 billion a day to 124 billion.
  • The United States dropped from being No. 1 source for spam in 2010 to No. 9 in 2011.
  • The amount of money generated annually from spam also was cut in half, dropping to about $500 million.

A GFI Software survey released in March of 2012 stated that almost half of the U.S. businesses responding to the survey experienced data breaches due to employees clicking on malicious emails, where 70 percent said their anti-spam solutions are marginally effective at best. Others stated their organizations had sustained data breaches due to spammed emails and the volume of spam flowing into their organizations had grown over the past year.

Click on this HowToGeek site that shows the top 10 email categories and most dangerous websites categories.

This doesn’t mean that the security threat from spam is disappearing. No matter what can business workers do to protect themselves against malicious and dangerous emails there are things users can do to help stop a potential data breach and other users. eWEEK has assembled a some a checklist to help stop the next potential data breach.

  • Do not open attachment from unknown sources. It could contain malware that could automatically download onto your computer.
  • Do not click on links in emails from an unknown source. Clicking on a link there could send user to a compromised or malicious website.
  • Beware of official looking emails that may request user information or simple to response to get your location.
  • Frequently scan for viruses especially with email attachments. It could contain malicious code.
  • Have a good comprehensive virus protection solution. This should include anti-spam solution. Most important of all, make sure virus and spam definition list is up to date.
  • Do not forward spammed emails!
  • Beware of Web 2.0 Risks. Emails and messaging services between Facebook, Google+, and others may contain may contain malware code or attachments.
  • Avoid going to sites from your emails. There may be imbedded JavaScripts and HTML code that can download malware.
  • Do not share personal information which could be picked up from phishing schemes.
  • Use strong passwords!