Security Awareness

How Do We Get Spammed and Phished

Email is a wonderful tool. There is no doubt that it has changed the face of how we communicate and interact with others.  As great as it is, it comes with its share of risk.  Email risk can be easily managed by improving our awareness of those risks.

In the first newsletter we talked about the nature of phishing emails and how to identify them. We’ve all had them but how do we get to be the lucky recipient of that phish – or even spam?  The answer might surprise you - we give it out.   All the time.  For those of you in sales oriented business, your email address is marketed in newspaper ads, radio spots and on websites Many of us give out business cards to clients and at conferences.

We also use our email address as our user ID for websites like Linked In, Facebook and other online resources - one of which has had a significant breach of user ID’s and passwords in the last year.  You might come across an interesting article that requires your contact information, to include email address, before it can be read. It’s annoying, but very effective because we give them what they want so we can get what we want.  Later we wonder ‘hey, why do I get so much spam?’

Email addresses are collected by luring you or forcibly taking it, as was the case with the Linked In compromise.  More sophisticated people may target you by harvesting the addresses from social networking and other websites where we have used our email address.

If you use your email address in such a way, you need to understand that raises the risk for you to be a target of phishing emails.  What do we do about it?  The same thing we talked about in the last newsletter – be diligent about watching for suspicious emails and don’t click on any links or attachments if you are unsure.  Be careful where you use your email address.  Be certain those websites are reputable but realize even the reputable ones are still susceptible to loss of your information.

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