As a result of the great impact that information technologies have had in daily life, in the workplace or for entertainment and added to the enormous advantages they offer us, these tools have become more than indispensable for a large number of people, which grows every second.
Few people or institutions currently do not have an e-mail address, and it is no wonder, since e-mail is one of the most popular and useful services offered to us in the wide world of the Internet.
Thanks to this service we can communicate with anyone around the world, share all kinds of information and avoid the various inconveniences of ordinary mail and all practically free of charge. But, if there are millions of people making legitimate use of a service, then there must also be a way to take advantage of it for illegitimate purposes, and that is what has happened with email, where there are a large number of hidden threats, which are they have increased due, among other things, to the fact that people do not pay enough care when opening their mail, belittling or ignoring the risks that exist.
Threats such as viruses, worms, Trojans and other cybernetic fauna known as malware, or spam, pharming and phishing attacks, have found a real niche for action in email. Therefore, below are a series of recommendations to mitigate the risk and be able to rest easy when checking our inbox.
- Have control over which people or institutions the email account is provided to. This address is part of our personal information and should not be disseminated indiscriminately, it is also highly recommended to review the privacy policies that each institution manages and know what they will do with our data before providing it.
- Do not open, respond to, or click on links or download attachments that we receive in unsolicited emails or of which the sender is unknown. As mentioned, this medium is a gateway for the spread of malware and other threats.
- Ignore the strings. These types of messages are very common and cover a significant volume of mailboxes. In most cases, users only forward the information, causing more and more email references to accumulate in the body of the message, which forms a rich source of addresses for spammers, who can easily collect them using automated tools.
- Do not reply to spam. These messages are mainly related to offers, advertising, notices of having won a prize, or practically anything with the aim of attracting attention. When a reply is sent, the attacker or spammer is being confirmed that the account is active; the main recommendation is to ignore these emails and delete them immediately.
- Use a password with robust security features, modifying it periodically. It is suggested to use a minimum length of 8 characters, inserting letters, numbers and special symbols, avoiding using personal data such as the date of birth or the username itself. It is also important to modify it periodically in order to protect against unauthorized access and identity theft through our email.
- Encrypt email. In case it is required to preserve the confidentiality of the information, there are solutions to encrypt our messages. Applications like Freenigma, GmailEncrypt or FireGPG, work on web based mail services like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo. Likewise, clients of applications such as Outlook or Thunderbird have their configuration options or applications to make the encryption and decryption of information possible.
- Remember to log out at the end. Mainly in public places such as computer rooms or internet cafes, it is important not to forget to close the email session, so that another person who uses the same computer will be prevented from being able to access the account.
- Have an antivirus program and keep it updated. This software will be in charge of checking the attached files, preventing contamination and the spread of malware.
These are just some recommendations that are easy to carry out, but they will greatly increase the security level of our information and reduce the risk of us being the victims of an attack through email.