Wednesday, 7 March 2007

The 25 Most Common Mistakes in Email Security

I still remember receiving my first phishing email in my AOL account. I had won the AOL lottery! As good as it sounded, I was skeptical at best. So without much thought, I opened the email and clicked on the link inside to check if I truly was a millionaire after all. Almost instantly, my computer crashed, and with each subsequent restart would crash again.

Countless computer crashes and thousands of spam emails later, I had learned the lesson that just opening spam email can bring harm to my computer. Unfortunately there are a whole host of traps and errors that catch new email users just because "they didn't know any better".

In this article we focus on 25 of the most common and easy to fix mistakes that people make when it comes to email security. We've designed this article with the new internet user in mind, so if you're an email expert, you may want to pass this along to your novice friends Link:

This is one item that I think people should pay particular attention to.

7. Not using the Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) option.

When you put a person's email addresses in the BCC: rather than the CC: window, none of the recipients can see the addresses of the other email recipients.

New email users often rely too much on the TO: because it is the default way of sending emails. That is fine as long as you are writing to just one person or a few family members. But if you are sending mail out to a diverse group of people, confusing BCC: and CC: raises some serious privacy and security concerns. It takes just one spammer to get a hold of the email and immediately everyone on your email list gets spammed.

Even if the honesty of the group isn't in question, many email programs are setup to automatically add to the address books any incoming email addresses. That means that some people in the group will inadvertently have added the entire list to their address book, and as a result, if one of their computers is infected with "Zombie" malware and silently sends out spam emails, you will have just caused the entire list to get spammed.