Amazon has become one of my favorite ways to shop. I seem to get a fair price with great shipping and I didn’t even have to leave my house. This Christmas I did some last minute shopping at Amazon, and as usual chose items from several different retailers.
After I placed my order I received several different emails of varying quality letting me know that my purchased items had been shipped. These emails were extremely plain and had several links to press to let me track my products. ‘Tis the Season, I was too busy to click any links in order to check on my purchases. A couple of weeks after I had made these purchases and had long forgotten the plain emails, my husband’s workplace announced that there had been a string of emails just like the ones I had received with links that would download malicious software onto my computer. I guess this time I can be thankful for being too busy.
Not much bothers me more than computer viruses. I am pretty savvy with the computer and still every once in a while I will get a computer virus that my internet security program misses. Then I end up spending hours upon hours backing things up and cleaning my system. Usually, these viruses come from me clicking on a link that I should not have. Here are some of my tips for protecting yourself from malicious software while reading email:
- Use Your Head When opening emails, ask yourself.. Does this look right? Does something seem out of the ordinary? Are they asking for information they shouldn’t be asking for? Usually, there is something out of the ordinary when a malicious email come to your inbox.
- Double Check Links Before Clicking Hover over the link (don’t click) and look at the destination URL address located in the bottom corner of your browser. Does it look right? If it is an email from say your Mom it wouldn’t have a link to triplexxx.com. Delete the email and contact the source of the email. They would like to know if someone is pretending to be them and emailing clients or friends.
- When In Doubt Go Straight To The Source If you are suspicious don’t click the link, instead manually enter in the URL address that you are familiar with. For example, if you receive an email from Discover Card that says your statement is ready. Don’t click on their link, just go to Discover Card’s website and type in your own login credentials. You will be able to navigate to your statement from there.
- Buy Virus Protection Software Most virus protection software will warn you when you are about to download information from a website. This extra warning will sometimes save you just in time. Most of the time these malicious emails will not let you know that they are going to download something to your computer, so when the warning comes up you will have the ability to stop that website from downloading to your computer and then you can immediately delete that email.
Following these simple rules will protect you from most cyber attacks that originate from email. If you are the unlucky recepient of a malicious email then here are a few steps you can take to help undo the damage:
- Identity Theft If you accidently gave out personal information, immediately begin checking all of your credit card and bank accounts for any suspicious transaction. If you are concerned about a particular account you can go and change all of your login information and let the establishment know that you are concerned that there may be a breach. Companies are proactive with fighting against identity theft and will put up extra defenses on your account to help prevent theft.
- Suspected or Verified Virus Update or buy virus protection software. It will most likely find what is out there. If it does not, or is unable to fight the virus then contact your virus software company and they will lead you through steps that will help them find a solution to your virus. I have done this in the past, and all though it is a slightly long and painful process it worked. They were able to identify and remove the virus from my system.
Don’t let things like this stop you from enjoying email, it is a wonderful way of communicating and with a few protective measures you will be fine.