When it comes to online security, education is the best way to arm yourself against the plethora of threats that lurk unseen. The more you know, the better your chances of protecting yourself from online attacks. By protecting yourself early, you can avoid any number of costs that are associated with the removal of spam once it has been allowed to accumulate on your computer. The following list of helpful tips will provide a crash course on how to avoid spam altogether.
Adjust the security level of your browser
Proper spam safety starts with the security level of your browser. Take a moment to thoroughly investigate your settings, ensuring that they have been set to keep cookies and controls from flooding in. In most cases, a user should adjust their settings so that they are prompted to download and deploy files manually.
Do not open spam emails
By deleting an email from a foreign sender the moment it reaches your inbox, you are keeping them from receiving a confirmation that you opened the email, read it and are a real person. Emails that are sent in the HTML format should never be opened if the recipient does not know the person who is sending it.
Do not give out your email address unless necessary
Spammers are unable to attack you, unless they have your personal email at the ready. That is why it is important to safeguard your email address at all times, only giving it out to trusted friends, family members and business associates. If possible, avoid sharing your email address with friends and family, or create two separate addresses for work related discussions and personal pursuits.
Do not open email links unless they are from trusted sources
One of the main reasons that spammers include clickable links in their emails is because they seek confirmation that the email address they have contacted is, in fact, legitimate. After you’ve clicked a link in a spam email, this also has a domino effect, as it displays your susceptibility to further attacks. So unless the link in your email has been sent by a trusted associate, do not click on it.
Always read terms and conditions
Too often, online users take the terms and conditions for granted and click through them without even taking a moment to read them. In many cases, if you click the yes option on a certain site’s terms and conditions without reading them, you are giving them permission to share your email address with third parties. Once these third parties have your email information, they are able to share it with the highest bidder.
Avoid publicly displaying your email address
Whether you are posting a witty comment on a news article, or making a post to an online forum, it is crucial to keep your email address concealed during these scenarios. This also includes signing up for email newsletters or accepting a sales offer from a retailer. Should these pursuits require the use of an email address, give strong consideration to creating one that is disposable and can be deleted if it becomes overrun by spammers.
Be careful clicking on an unsubscribe link
If you know the person you are receiving the email from, an unsubscribe link can be clicked without fear. If you do not, clicking an unsubscribe link can actually have the opposite effect. Spammers are masterful at creating content that looks safe for you to click on, but in reality, clicking on an unsubscribe link often confirms to the sender that they have not contacted you in error and that the email address is valid.
Do not open foreign attachments
Opening an attachment that is sent by an unfamiliar email address is a decision that can have far reaching consequences. In many instances, an unfamiliar email attachment will contain Trojan horses, which are capable of not only infecting your computer, but also turning it into a command center for the sender. By opening these attachments, your computer could end up being used by the spammer as their preferred sending hub for future spam emails to other innocent bystanders.