Staying Safe with Email
We all rely on email to communicate, do business and stay in touch with loved ones. Much like the electricity in your house, you never think of your email being unavailable.
Yet there are dangers in the world of email. People with nothing better to do than be destructive spend their days and nights dreaming up ways to infect your computer and destroy your data.
There are ways you can protect yourself and make using email a worry free and fun experience.
Let’s start with some basic ideas.
=====> Understand the Basics
Each email you receive contains what is called a “header”. This header shows you who the email is from, who you will be replying to if you press reply, and the subject line of the email. This is a good thing, since it allows you to trash emails from people you don’t know or with subjects you don’t want. But there’s more.
The ‘reply to’ address can be different from the sender’s address. Just look at the header for this ezine and you’ll see what I mean. When you press ‘reply to’ on this email, your message goes to an automated address, NOT to me.
While your email is safe with me, there are those out there with less than honorable intentions. Be very careful when you click reply. If you don’t, you could accidentally opt-in to a spam list… or worse.
=====> Avoid Getting a Virus
Whether you have the most state-of-the-moment virus scanner or not, the more email you read the more at risk you are. Recently, a very nasty virus was transmitted via a hyperlink in an email. Containing a Yahoo domain name, the link looked harmless. When you clicked the link, the virus ran. Not harmless at all.
How can you protect yourself? Here are three quick tips.
1. NEVER open an attachment without knowing that the person really sent it. Knowing the person is no longer good enough, since most viruses spread through a user’s address book. If you receive an email with an attachment from Aunt Emily, call her to make sure SHE actually sent it.
2. Look for a disconnect between the sender and the email. Would Aunt Emily REALLY send you an email telling you that ‘you are fat’? If the subject line, or the writing, look odd to you, confirm it with the sender.
3. Don’t use a ‘preview window’. A preview window is that cool window at the bottom where you read the email while the list of emails is at the top. Nice feature. Problem is that for some programs a preview window acts as an attachment opener! This will be hard to find in the documentation, but user groups for your email program can advise you.
=======> Privacy is a Myth
Understanding this concept is key to using email wisely. There is NO privacy with email. The best analogy I’ve heard is that sending an email is like mailing a post card. Every one who touches the post card can read it if they like. Just so, every server that your email gets routed through, and there are almost always six or more in the equation, can read (or store) your email if they so desire. Is it legal? No. Is it moral? No. Can it happen? Yes.
Email is like driving a car. In the right hands driving a car is a safe and enjoyable experience, given that a few basic rules are followed. In the wrong hands, driving a car can be a nightmare.
While you should never be afraid to send or receive email, understanding the basics and using common sense will make your online experience the pleasure it is supposed to be.
About the Author
Charlie Page owns the Directory of Ezines and is the author of 10 books about Internet marketing. Through his membership sites and personal consulting, Charlie helps people achieve their goal of independence in record time. Can Charlie help you? Find out at http://www.CharliePage.com