How to Stop Spam and Email Viruses: Your Complete Guide to Email Security
Do you ever feel like your email inbox is overflowing with spam?
It might because it is. Here’s a statistic to make you shiver: 14.5 billion spam emails land in inboxes every single day.Moreover, the biggest source of spam isn’t what you’d expect. During the same period, 13.21 percent of all that spam originated in the United States.
Spam is annoying, but it also brings email viruses that put your business at risk. It’s believed that around 3 percent of all spam features a malware payload that could damage your IT infrastructure and put your accounts at risk. You can never know which email might take your company offline.
Do you know how to stop spam emails? Stopping spam is easier than you might expect. Keep reading for some simple strategies to clean up your inbox and protect your business.
How to Deal with Spam: A Guide for Business
Spam is both annoying and a risk to your privacy and profitability. Although the volume of spam may feel overwhelming, minimizing your exposure is something you can do yourself.
It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a Luddite, if you use email, then you are capable of limiting the risks of spam.
1) Make Sure to Work With Your Email Service Provider
Your email host offers options for filtering your emails. If you use a service like Microsoft Office 365 or Google, filtering options are employed automatically. Many MSP’s, such as Be Structured, also offer additional filter options to help deal with spam even more robustly as well and make it easier for the end user to manage quarantines, whitelists, and blacklists. Find out what spam filters your host offers and make sure they’re switched on.
Also, work with your IT provider to make sure your own domain is protected from being spoofed (as much as possible) by properly enabling SPF and DKIM. They will know what that means.
2) Don’t Open, Click On, or Reply to Spam
The best way to protect yourself from the dangers of spam is to avoid opening, clicking on, or replying to potential spam messages.
If you don’t recognize the email address or the subject line is suspicious, simply don’t open it. While opening a spam email isn’t enough to result in a virus or malware in most cases, it sets a precedent for your spam filters and prevents any accidental clicks or downloads. Additionally, using the preview function on spam is a bad idea because it could open attachments that include malware. Setting your email clients to not download images or auto-preview mail is good protection, just delete likely spam.
Finally, keep an eye on the sender’s address even from email addresses you recognize. Spammers like to mimic legitimate companies and email addresses as part of phishing schemes. Popular services like PayPal are common targets. For example, you may receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. But the real address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) Encourage Filtering By Marking Spam Manually
Is some spam sneaking through to your inbox? Help the algorithm learn by marking the spam manually.
Instead of sending it directly to the trash, choose the ‘report spam’ function in your inbox first. You’ll train the algorithm for your personal while also making your email host better aware of the new types and methods of spam to create better filters overall.
4) Don’t Publish Your Correspondence Address
Spammers gather lists of thousands of email addresses using scraping tools. If one of these bots scrapes your website, what will it find? Not publishing your email on your website or other forums prevents bots and other programs from adding your email address to its list. Of course, it also makes it difficult to contact you in some cases.
Need to keep your address out there but want to avoid spam? Consider typing it out in longhand or another format that isn’t easy to collect. Try typing out your name – john.smith and leaving the official address blank by letting customers assume it’s attached to your website URL. If you have a different email service, try John dot Smith at Gmail dot com or even John dot Smith at Gmail.com.
There are two types of spam:
- Potentially dangerous emails from Nigerian princes and bankers, fraudsters, and hackers – do not click unsubscribe buttons in these emails!
- Non-threatening emails that you don’t want or need
It’s the second type of spam that makes up the bulk of most complaints. Marketing emails make up of 70 percent of the spam people complain about most.
While your Spam box will always collect one or two fraudulent emails, you can declutter and protect your email folders by unsubscribing from emails you don’t read. Unsubscribing keeps your inbox clean and also helps those particularly dangerous emails better stand out in the crowd to avoid any accidental opens.
6) Keep Your Malware Protection Up to Date
Your malware protection isn’t directly related to eliminating spam. But it does protect you if you or someone in your office is tricked by a dangerous email. When was the last time you updated or evaluated your current protection software? Has it been updated to deal with all the present potential threats?
All malware and security programs should be set to scan and update a minimum of once per day. Be sure to follow your provider’s instructions and allow for the full system update when required. Your MSP or IT provider should be providing an anti-virus and anti-malware solution as a part of their package.
7) Choose a Business Email Solution
Most of the solutions presented require individual accountability. But personal responsibility isn’t always enough in a business or enterprise scenario.
With so much spam and so much of it containing viruses and malware, you need to be able to protect your business at the outset. Using a business email solution helps you manage spam, recover deleted emails, and save previously lost data while also blocking dangerous spam.
Business solutions come with enterprise-grade tools that mean you can worry less about spam and more about doing business.
Stopping Spam Protects Your Business
Don’t be fooled by spam or the threats that come with it. The sophistication of malware and viruses continue to improve, and you never know what email could be devastating.
Are you trying to clear up your inbox and improve your productivity? Contact us to learn how to stop spam with our email service solutions and virus and malware protection.