Internet Email Security - Email Phishing Security Threat

Email has become an important means of communication in the modern world. Unfortunately, that means it is also one of the most common routes for virus infection and fraud. Protecting yourself from these kinds of threats is essential for everybody. One of the main security risks posed by email is that of fraud. One type of fraud which is termed Email Phishing, tries to deceive the recipient into disclosing personal financial details or passwords. These emails use logos of well known institutions such as banks or online retailers and ask you to update your password or financial details. They provide a link which looks real but in actuality directs you to a phony web site. Providing personal information leads to becoming the victim of credit card fraud or theft - otherwise known as identity theft.

Email Phishing can quite easily be spotted from either the subject line or the content. For instance, rather than using your name, the message will start with something like 'Dear valued customer'. or wording to that effect. This is not always the case as it is possible that some variant of your name could be used. Some people use their name in their actual email address which makes it easier for the fraudsters to figure out at least part of your name.

A further indication that the message is not from who it purports to be from is in a link which doesn't correspond to the text describing it. If the text says something like "Microsoft", but the URL is "somefraudsterssite.com" you will know the message is not from the folks in Redmond, Washington. The best way to check a link is to either hover over it with your mouse (don't click on it though) or highlight it and check the status bar to see the address where the link will take you.

Specialised email virus protection software can detect email phishing although such software is not quite perfected. Quite often it will identify legitimate email as a fraud. You should always treat requests for passwords or credit card details with suspicion. Remember that no legitimate bank or other financial institution will ask you to verify your password or sensitive data in an email.

Email Virus Protection

Viruses often arrive in the form of email attachments, so practice care when opening any attachment - even from a known source. Some viruses infiltrate address books and send infected email to everyone listed, so it's feasible to receive a virus from a friend or fellow worker. Ideally, you should communicate with the other party beforehand to let them know that you are sending an attachment.

The best protection against email viruses is Email Virus Protection software that automatically scans messages as they arrive at your computer. Every computer that is used for Internet access or email should have email virus protection software installed as a matter of course. Not only does this protect your own system but also the Internet as a whole. Some viruses start on a single computer system but then spread across whole networks, which swamps the equipment essential to run the Internet.

Email Backups

As with any data or files on your computer, email can, and should be backed up on a regular basis. It is quite a simple task with most email programs to export the messages to a folder, then backup that folder with a backup program onto a removable disk, writeable CD or DVD or other media. Specialised backup software can also be purchased to backup emails directly, which would eliminate the export step.

Backup programs can normally be automated to run at a convenient time without requiring further user intervention. The program does need to be configured but it is a small price to pay should you lose an email that is badly needed. You will be much busier trying to replace it if it wasn't backed up.