Most people think of spam emails as an inconvenience that isn’t really that harmful. It’s annoying and it takes a little bit of time to deal with, but that’s all it is. However, spam can actually be much more dangerous than people assume, especially for those receiving spam on their work email accounts. Here are a few of the dangers of spam and how to handle those dangers so you don’t put your computer and your company network at risk.
It Links to Virus-Filled Sites
Many spam emails include a link to click. This link will take you to a website that contains viruses or malware that will try to infect your computer. It may also lead to a phishing site that asks you to enter personal information, usernames and passwords, or banking information.
Some of these types of spam emails are very easy to identify, but others are much more devious. They may very closely resemble an email you would receive from your bank or credit card company. The return email address may even have the company’s name in it, but the rest of the address may look odd. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of an email, call the company that supposedly sent it to confirm it’s legitimate.
It Contains a Virus-Filled File
Some spam emails contain an attachment that the email encourages you to download and open. Often, these files are executable programs that will install other malware and viruses on your system. Some may try to delete your antivirus programs and firewalls, while others may install programs that track your keystrokes and email that information to a hacker. Any time you log into an account, this software sends your username and password to others.
Fortunately, programs such as Mailcleaner will keep an eye out for these programs and block the email from ever appearing in your inbox. Many businesses use this software to block unwanted spam emails so that employees don’t have to deal with them. It only takes one person mistaking a spam attachment for a real one to put a business network at risk.
It Can Hijack Your Email
Spam email doesn’t necessarily need to contain a virus to steal your information. Some spam emails take the form of fake product newsletters or other emails. Down at the bottom, you’ll find a link that tells you to click on it to unsubscribe. Doing so takes you to a website that may contain viruses, but almost always contains a space for you to enter your email and then click unsubscribe.
This seems simple enough, but by doing so, you’re actually giving your email address to a scammer. The next thing you know, your email is being placed in the “sender” field on other spam messages. People will think either that you are responsible for the spam, or that your computer is full of viruses. Either way, it can lead to your email or your entire company domain being blocked. That can make it difficult to do business with some customers or partners.