A 3-Part Series about How to Defend against Online Threats
PART ONE: Safer Email
Are you ready for some good news about dealing with cyber criminals? Yup, believe it or not, I have some. You can fight back. You can be an online vigilante without joining a posse or doing anything to put yourself at risk.
Seriously, you can effectively respond to the malicious attempts of web crooks and identity thieves (and many others) trying to cheat, swindle, or trick you out of your money or your personal information.
This is the first in a series of three blogs with recommendations on how you can take action to hopefully better protect yourself and loved ones on the ‘net. The three blogs are: PART ONE: Safer Email; PART TWO: Safer Social Networks; and PART THREE: Safer Surfing.
Be more than a passive target
The golden goal of this series is encourage you to be more than a passive target and potential victim of cybercrime. We all need to be vigilant and should use the simple but effective tools that are available to us to help authorities and security experts monitor and police cyberspace.
Now, let’s start with what you can do to help make your and everyone else’s email more secure. The big companies that offer consumer email accounts (Yahoo Email, Google Gmail, and Outlook) provide easy ways for you to report bad email behavior like spamming, phishing, and spreading hoax emails.
Yahoo Email makes it easy
If you have a Yahoo email account, in addition to reporting the receipt of spam in your inbox, you can now also report phishing attempts easily without having to go to a different site or do anything more than pulling down the “Spam” drop down menu that appears above every email and selecting “Report a Phishing Scam.”
Of course, there is an assumption here that you are able to identify a phishing email before falling victim. If you don’t want to be tricked into giving up your personal information that can be used to hack your accounts and steal your money, please educate yourself by watching this Yahoo-produced video on YouTube. In no time, you’ll be able to start identifying and flagging phishing attempts. The key is to always be suspicious, even if an email is from someone you know.
If you have security software like Trend Micro, it will identify and block dangerous links that appear in email messages, no matter who sent it to you. See example below:
Reporting a phishing scam
Once you select “Report a Phishing Scam” the email disappears from you inbox and goes directly into your “Spam” folder. Yahoo personnel will be alerted and take it from there. The more email users who report phishing and spam emails, the better able Yahoo will be to filter out these offending messages and prevent these nasty schemes from blossoming.
Please take a couple of seconds to report spam and phishing attempts. Consider it an Internet public service and your duty to protect yourself and others. So why not be a bit of a hero without doing anything heroic. Yahoo says on its Help page: “Every time you mark an email as spam in Yahoo Mail, you give us even more ammunition to combat unsolicited messages.”
Google Gmail and Outlook make reporting spam easy too
Google’s Gmail also has an option to report spam easily. Just click on the exclamation mark in the menu bar above the message and it will be reported to Google as spam.
Outlook also gives you the option to easily mark an email that comes into your inbox as junk. For all the details on the Outlook 2010 junk email filter and more, visit this Microsoft support page.
As always, we recommend you employ a strong security suite from a major security software vendor like Trend Micro. Get Trend Micro Internet Security, which blocks dangerous websites and identifies dangerous links in websites, social networks, email, and instant messages.
Read the other blogs in this series:
Follow Trend Micro on Twitter and use the hashtag #ProtectYourNet.
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.