It is hard to go a day without hearing about yet another IT threat, intrusion, or hijacking of personal information, and those are only the cases you actually hear about. According to Norton by Symantec, ransomware has increased exponentially in the past two years. Thieves get in, steal you photos, steal your data, or paralyze your computer until you fork over cash you probably don’t have. We have a few tips to avoid ransomware in your email.
1. Stop putting your email address in any ol’ box
Do not give your email out so much. Just because a pop-up comes up or a store you shopped at only once wants your email address, it doesn’t mean you have to give it up. Guess what: your information is going to be sold or posted on a forum somewhere, which means anyone can infiltrate your inbox with malicious programs.
2. Do not use free security programs
While free security and anti-virus programs sound appealing, they rarely provide the protection you really need. Unfortunately, some programs advertised as free may in fact be malicious programs. Once you download, you are done. In order to effectively avoid ransomware it is important to make sure your computer and its programs are up-to-date, your firewalls are in place, and your regular scans are occurring. You need a program that alerts you to suspicious activity, blocks intrusions, and can warn you about dangerous links.
Most of your email activity probably occurs on your smartphone or tablet, so it is important to make sure you have an antivirus on all your devices.
3. Do not open files from unknown senders
It may be an old tip, but it is one of the best. People are still opening dangerous emails from senders they don’t know. It is important to verify that you know the sender. If it looks familiar, verify the details of the name and contents of the email. If it looks off, don’t open it. Use your email settings to send future emails from the sender to the spam or to block the sender completely.
4. Avoid opening emails for awesome deals
Don’t be tempted by unbelievable deals in the subject of an email. Resist the temptation to click on the link to view the deal. If it is valid, you should be able to go directly to the company’s site and find the deal online. Put the company’s name in a search engine if you have never heard of it. You will see reviews, warnings, and the legitimate link to the homepage if it exists.
5. Do not click ‘unsubscribe’ on junk or unfamiliar emails
Receiving a ton of junk emails and spam messages is annoying. Resist the temptation to unsubscribe. If you don’t know the sender, the email looks phony, or you are simply tired of the influx of emails, don’t click ‘unsubscribe’ on any of the emails. Block the sender instead.
Your email is now the way thieves get in, and in order to avoid ransomware you have to be on-guard at all times. Be suspicious of all your emails, and inspect the content thoroughly before opening the message.