What's New in Technology for April, 2011
Technology: Keeping Email Safe
No matter how careful you are with security and virus protection on your computer, you might still fall victim to unscrupulous individuals who attempt to use your email account to send spam or steal data. There is no ironclad method of avoiding these problems, but there are some steps you can take to protect yourself.
Email spoofing has become the most common form of email scams. A type of high-tech forging, spoofing occurs when someone sends an email and pretends it is originating from another source – one the recipient would assume is legitimate. Spammers write programs that allow them to send emails en masse from one server that appears to the recipient to be from a completely different source. The intent is almost always to gain access to sensitive data – passwords, usernames or other personal information. Unlike hijacking, which happens when a spammer actually breaks into your email account to get to your address book, spoofing doesn’t involve breaking into your account. It is more insidious – and harder for the unsuspecting to detect.
Watch out for urgent alerts that pop up while you’re online, informing you that your system has been invaded by malware. Don’t fall for it. If you are on a website and a window suddenly opens up on the screen exhorting you to use it to run an anti-virus program immediately to save your system, don’t do it.
Getting out of the situation safely without activating the program can be tricky. Avoid clicking on anything at all in the virus/infected system window that just appeared – don’t even hit the X in the window to close it. You must get offline completely. If you are using Microsoft Windows, the safest escape is to hit ALT F4. Once offline, run your spyware/virus protection programs plus any spybot programs you have.
If Your Business is Breached
Keep security basics in mind at all times. Choose passwords that are complicated, and don’t use the same combination for all your online accounts. Keep security and antivirus programs current and update them often. Don’t expose your computer system to unnecessary risk. Be cautious about third-party applications that are associated with social media sites – don’t give anyone access without considering the implications.