06/18/2011

How to prevent spam from landing

Messages coming flying in often include spam looking like normal ones. Here is one easy check to catch them before they land, and perhaps explode.

 


I was about to write a blog genuinely on aviation, but just checked my email before that. On seeing a suspicious message, I used a very simple method of checking it, seeing that it was spam and sending it to the wastebin. Perhaps some of you might be interested in this very simple method.

The message subject was " Courier Postal Service returned the parcel to the office" and the sender was "Post Express service". If, like me, you have a permanently suspicious mind, you might immediately note that the message had an attachment with it. If you did open it, you might be tempted by the contents of the message to open this attached file, despite having no idea what it really contained! NO!

You probably have some kind of anti-spam, anti-virus software on your system (if you don't then you should have!), and this software might be good enough to flag this attachment as very suspicious, even definitely a virus. However, since hackers and spammers evolve to stay ahead of the protection software, do not let yourself rely completely on this software.

I have a simple checking method: note the message subject and do a web search (most often known as Google!) on it. In this case I googled the subject and immediately saw that it was a known problem. The first response (from spam.bubble.ro) showed immediately that it was spam, and that the attachment was a compressed *.zip file. I have no idea what was in the zip file, and nor would you if you opened it!

The thing to guard against is a total reliance on your anti-spam, anti-virus software. Yes, it probably works almost all of the time, but sometimes it will be penetrated. You then potentially run into the "hard shell, soft interior" situation, whereby something that penetrates the outer shell then has complete freedom to cause havoc inside.

To avoid this situation, the best defence is to make use of what is in the space between your ears: your brain! In my opinion, this space can be the best anti-virus protection that exists, and it is free for everybody to use.

Use it!

16:57 Posted in Potpourri | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: spam, virus, email, attachment | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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