Email security is about a lot more than just using a good password. Perhaps the most important part of email security is ensuring you don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
Below are some tips for avoiding common ways that users compromise their own security and contribute to spammers and phishers invading their systems, or having malware and viruses infect their machines.
Turn Off Automated Addressing
As communication software adds more and more automated convenience features, there will be more cases of accidentally choosing the wrong recipient. A good example is Microsoft Outlook’s "auto-fill" feature where it’s easy to accidentally select a recipient adjacent to the one you meant to select. (I’m embarrassed to admit that this has happened to me more than once). Choosing the wrong person can cause a problem when you’re discussing private matters – either personal or business related.
Use "BCC" When Sending To Multiple Recipients
For security reasons, it’s a bad idea to share someone’s email address with strangers without permission. Every time you send an email to multiple recipients with everyone’s email address in the To: or CC: fields you’re sharing all of those addresses with all of those recipients. This is an open invitation to "phishing" if your email is sent to an infected machine. You can avoid that scenario by using the BCC: (blind copy) field.
Save Emails Only In A Safe Place
No amount of encryption for sent emails will protect your privacy if, after receiving and decrypting an email, you then store it in plain text on a machine to which other people have access. And Webmail providers often don’t do as good a job of ensuring stored email privacy as we would like.
Use Private Accounts For Private Emails
Any email you share with the world is likely to get targeted by spammers – both for sending mail to it or by spoofing the address in the From: field of the email header. The more spammers and phishers spoof your email address, the more likely it will end up on a spam blocker blacklist. When this happens, you will have problems with your emails not reaching your intended recipients.
Double-Check The Recipient Every Time – Especially On Mailing Lists
Accidentally replying directly to someone who sent an email to a mailing list, when you meant to reply to the list, isn’t a huge security issue. It is inconvenient, though, if you don’t notice that your email didn’t actually go to those you wanted to receive it. The opposite, however, can be a real problem if you send something to the list that was intended for a specific individual. You may end up publicly saying something embarrassing — or worse, you may divulge personal or business secrets that weren’t mean for public consumption.
Our techs are experienced in setting up email security features, so if you want help making your system safer, give us a call.
Remember that security can be violated through careless acts or inattentiveness more easily than by outside forces. Make sure you aren’t the cause of avoidable risks. In other words, don’t shoot yourself in the foot!
If yo would like an security audit of your system contact our support department at CCS Retail Systems, Inc.
Until next time – Norma