The latest tech news, tips, and advice

Spam mail is more dangerous than you think — here’s what you need to know

img email protect iStock 600139154

Every day, your spam folder receives emails from undesirables, from unwanted newsletters to phony product offers to Nigerian princes’ promises of princely sums. This just shows that pesky spam mail continues to be a problem for businesses — and it’s a costly one too. Based on a recent study, spam costs businesses $20 billion every year, which is a lot of money wasted on unwanted emails.

It’s also alarming that many people don’t realize how dangerous spam can be. You can change that by learning what spam is, what it does, and how you can protect your business from it.

What is spam?

Spam is any unsolicited email, text, social media message, or advertisement that you receive in your email. Besides disrupting our daily lives by overwhelming us with useless information, most spam mails also pose serious threats.

Spam mail can be used to distribute malware and viruses, which can seriously compromise computers, networks, and online accounts. Spammers use these tactics to steal sensitive data like passwords and credit card information, or even take over a business’s entire system. Additionally, some spammers may try to get their targets to purchase phony products or services.

How can I protect my business from spam?

Email remains one of the most frequently used business tools today, but some say that it is a dying business communication channel that has outlived its usefulness. After all, there are now plenty of communication tools available like social media and other messaging applications and programs that seem to have replaced it. But email is not going away anytime soon, which is why it still deserves the best protection against threats like spam.

Here are a few ways to secure your email against spam.

Avoid posting your email address on easily accessible sites

Publicly posting your email address makes it easy for spammers to target you. Spammers use automated programs to search web pages and blog comments in order to find email addresses. Once they have gathered these emails, they “spam” the addresses with infected links or attachments.

This is why you should never post your email address online anywhere, particularly on sites where anyone could easily access it. You should also consider using an alternate email address when signing up for nonessential, potentially unsafe websites to help guard against spammers.

Use spam reporting tools

Spam reporting tools allow users to identify and report emails that are likely to be spam. Use these tools to reduce the number of unwanted emails that reach your inboxes, as well as prevent malware from infecting company devices and/or networks.

Check your spam folder occasionally and save legitimate email

When you consistently mark legitimate emails as “not spam,” the filter will eventually recognize these types of messages and begin filtering out more of the unwanted, fraudulent emails automatically and more efficiently. This ensures that the only messages that reach your inbox are from senders you know or trust. Additionally, by identifying certain patterns within a larger batch of fraudulent emails, the filter can easily spot any new scams or threats quickly before they do any harm.

Avoid replying to spam mail

Replying or interacting with spam emails can be incredibly dangerous, as it can leave businesses and individuals vulnerable to a variety of cyberthreats. When you reply to a spam email, the sender may be able to gain access to your contact information and use it for malicious purposes. This includes sending you more unwanted emails and trying to steal your personal data such as passwords or credit card numbers.

Be aware of data leaks involving your email

You must be aware of any potential data leaks involving your business and personal email accounts. These leaks can result in a variety of cyberthreats, such as the theft of sensitive data. Use hack-checking tools to see whether your email and/or your password have been compromised. And if so, make sure you change your passwords immediately.

Utilize antivirus software and observe security best practices

Before opening emails, run an antivirus scan to protect against viruses and other threats that they could contain. You should also always observe security best practices such as making sure passwords are strong and unique for each account, setting up two-factor authentication where possible, and regularly backing up data.

Spam can be a serious threat to businesses and individuals, but by following these simple steps, you can protect yourself against unwanted emails and other threats. Intouch IT offers cybersecurity solutions that will help your business guard against spam and other online threats. Drop us a line today.