If you use email for work-related purposes, you should take precautions to protect against malware infections. Research shows that over three-fourths of businesses have experienced a ransomware attack via email. Ransomware, of course, is just one type of malware. Other types include viruses, trojans, worms and keyloggers. You can still use email to communicate with your business’s employees and customers, but you should consider the following best practices.
Access Over Protected Wi-Fi
Avoid using public Wi-Fi to access your email account. Whether you’re checking your inbox or sending an email, you should access your email account over protected Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi will only increase your risk of a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack. A hacker could breach your connection and target you with malware. By using a protected Wi-Fi, such as your business’s own network, you can prevent this from happening.
Run Antivirus Software in the Background
Running antivirus software will protect you from email-related malware threats. As you may know, most antivirus software offers two types of scans: real time and on demand. Real-time scans are persistent and ongoing, whereas demand scans are not. Real-time scans will allow you to run antivirus software in the background. You can check your inbox, and if you happen to encounter a malware threat, the antivirus software will neutralize it on the spot.
Don’t Download File Attachments From Unknown Senders
It’s not uncommon for emails to have files attached to them. While some of these files may be legitimate, others may consist of malware. To err on the side of caution, don’t download file attachments from unknown senders. If you don’t recognize the name or address from which an email was sent, avoid downloading any files attached to that email. Instead, only download file attachments from senders whom you recognize.
Flag Suspicious Emails as Spam
Another best practice to protect against email-related malware is to flag suspicious emails as spam. Maybe an email has one or more links to a nefarious website, or perhaps an email is asking for your personal information. Suspicious emails such as these pose a cybersecurity risk. By flagging them as spam, though, you can block the sender. If the sender tries to target you with additional emails, they should land in your spam filter where they’ll go unnoticed.
Email is a common vector for malware infections. Hackers realize that millions of people, including business owners and professionals, check their inboxes on a daily basis. As a result, they use email to deploy malware. Following these best practices will protect you from email-related malware.