7 Step to Email Security

30 / 01 / 2014

Email Security Tip #1 – Use more than one email account

Firing out all emails from one email account is ill-advised as the likelihood of mixing up personal and work emails dramatically rises.
Usually, three email accounts is a good place to start as they cover most bases; first for newsletters/blogs, second for personal or professional contacts and third for your work email. Your first account can catch all the newsletters you sign up for, it can be used to sign up to and be published on social media websites and so forth (this account can become unruly if not tended to regularly). Your second account is for personal and professional contacts, so emailing family and friends or applying for a new job. Your third email is strictly for work uses only.

Email Security Tip #2 – Understand and use the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) option.

The BCC option is a very handy tool when sending an email to multiple addresses when you don’t want the recipients to see others on the list.
Even though this is a great option to have, it can be a nightmare if you get the CC and BCC fields mixed up. This could easily be picked up by a spammer who could use the whole email list in their next spamming campaign or it could even divulge your customer list to other customers (if they are competitors this could cause major problems). Please take care when using this option.

Email Security Tip #3 – Be careful with the ‘Reply All’ button

The Reply All button can be disastrous when used without thinking, for example you could be disclosing private company data in one email and broadcasting out to all of your clients in the next.
Once you’ve sent an email you have lost control of it.  You cannot guarantee that the recipients will not broadcast the content further and in today’s age they can go viral with posts on Twitter and Facebook, or by simply emailing their friends.
Be careful when using the ‘Reply All’ button.

Email Security Tip #4 – Archive emails

Emails are not only for informal hellos or sending newsletters; they also contain contracts, quotes and financial budgets.  Archiving these emails with a recognised email archiving solution gives the user the peace of mind that they are encrypted, easily searchable and stored securely away to prevent from theft. It also prevents the use of PST files which are not always backed up and are liable to corrupt which can cause a problem for the user if they are trying to find that important email.

Email Security Tip #5 – Realise when a phishing scam hits your inbox

If you are an experienced internet user, you can probably tell what a phishing email looks like so you immediately drop it into the spam folder. But even the most experienced of users can get caught out if a phishing email is lucky and targets a service you use to steal your details.
Your first line of defence is to never open a phishing email. This can be difficult however if the email seems to be sent by an official address and the subject line is similar to ones that the authentic sender has sent you before. The aim of a phishing email is to steal your personal information such as credit card numbers and your address. So to limit the damage you need to keep in mind that you should never click a link that is referring you to confirm some personal information of yours. If you are particularly worried that the email might be authentic but  you can’t tell, you can always phone the company up to confirm.
Some signs to look out for:
  • Emails that are threatening legal action
  • Lottery wins that you didn’t even enter
  • A logo that is outdated or distorted
  • Emails that ask you to confirm your personal information otherwise your account will be shutdown

Email Security Tip #6 – Found a newsletter in your inbox that you haven’t subscribed to? Don’t unsubscribe.

Scammers are evidently getting smarter in the techniques they use to steal unsuspecting internet users’ personal information. The unsubscribe button is a useful tool to stop those emails that you just don’t read any more, but in this case they can prove hazardous.
If a newsletter appears in your inbox that you have never subscribed to, alarm bells should start ringing. If they don’t and you click on the unsubscribe button anyway, you might be in trouble. The key is to blacklist these emails so you never get them again!

Email Security Tip #7 – Scan all email attachments. Yes, even the ones from your friends.

If you receive an email from a trusted friend with an attachment, you usually don’t think twice about opening it because you only saw them yesterday and they still like you. This however, does not rule out the fact that their email address could be infected by a virus and that virus could be sending emails out to all their contacts on their behalf. This has most likely happened to someone you know as many email addresses still get hacked today which send out unsolicited emails to their full contact lists. The best way to avoid contracting these viruses is to scan every attachment you receive no matter how much you trust the sender.