Cyber Security Expo
 
Identifying Dangerous EMail by Robert Drum on 14/01/05

Youíve heard of spam, the electronic equivalent of junk mail. Youíve heard news stories about destructive Internet worms and computer viruses. But did you know that your mother had the best advice for dealing with both of these problems? ďDonít talk to strangers.Ē Itís a simple phrase meant to keep children safe from the unknown. Well cyberspace isnít so different from real-life that your motherís sage advice doesnít apply.

Think about your email inbox. Surely you get messages from people youíve never heard of, with subject lines that cover everything from sexual enhancement products to random gibberish. Well your motherís admonition, ďDonít talk to strangers,Ē is particularly useful when dealing with such emails. Take a close look at the name and subject line; if either seems odd, just go ahead and delete the email without reading it.

But sometimes it isnít easy to identify which emails belong in the trash, especially when you recognize the sender. There are common clues that can help you spot problem emails from simple spam to destructive viruses. The first, best clue is that such messages always arrive unexpectedly. But just being unexpected doesnít make an email dangerous, there are other clues to look for.

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