E-mail is a very present means of communication in the day-to-day life of both home users and also at the business level. It offers a wide range of options and there are many services available. Now, the truth is that it is also a means widely used by attackers to sneak viruses, steal passwords, etc. In this article we are going to talk about how spam e-mail can affect security.
- What is spam: are they always dangerous?
- Types of attacks with an e-mail Spam
- How to protect ourselves from spam
What is spam: are they always dangerous?
First of all we want to explain what exactly spam or spam e-mail is . Basically it is spam, such as abusive advertising, which comes from unknown accounts, bots, etc. It is something really common and most providers have a filter.
But is spam email dangerous? The truth is that in most cases it will not be more than an annoying e-mail. For example, advertising a specific service or product. It reaches our inbox and we simply delete it and that’s it. It is annoying, we may even receive many e-mails, but it does not go beyond there.
On the other hand, on other occasions it can be a real danger. It can contain malware , attachments that are designed to steal passwords, serve to collect personal data, request information by impersonating something legitimate, etc. They can even impersonate legitimate websites.
It is in these cases that we mention that we must be very careful with spam. Sometimes they will go from being a simple annoyance to a real problem for the security of our system and our own privacy when browsing the Internet.
Types of attacks with an e-mail Spam
It is important to know what types of attacks can come through a simple email spam. This will allow us to have a better understanding of what we are facing and take measures as soon as possible to avoid falling into the trap and protect the equipment at all times.
One of the risks of spam mail is that it can be used to launch phishing attacks . This type of threat consists of sending an email (it can also be an SMS or a message through social networks) where they encourage us in some way to click on a link and log in or download a file.
If we receive spam, it may contain links to certain services that pretend to be official. For example, to log into a social network, on platforms like Amazon, in the bank account … The problem is that it is actually false and we are sending our data to a server controlled by the attacker.
This method is very common for password theft. Sometimes it bypasses the email security filter and causes significant security issues.
Of course, malware can also arrive through simple spam email. We are talking about an attachment that is actually a virus and that we download and open by mistake. This can be a very important problem for a computer, mobile or any equipment that we use.
In this sense there are many varieties. We can be victims of viruses that allow us to control the computer, as Trojans tend to be, but also others that even encrypt the files and ask for a ransom in return, which would be the case with ransomware.
Theft of personal data
We must not forget about the theft of personal data . It is another possibility through a simple e-mail Spam. In this case, we can be faced with something as simple as the attacker knowing if we have opened that email and, in this way, verify that there is an active user behind that account.
They can also “invite” us to interact and thus collect certain personal data. The objective in this case may be to include us in advertising campaigns, but also to learn more about us in order to carry out certain attacks. Let’s say they know what our name and surname are or what services we use. They could send a new e-mail more oriented to us and with a greater probability that we will open it.
Install rogue programs
On the other hand, they could contain rogue programs that we intend to download and install. These applications are going to pretend to be official and fulfill the same function, but in reality it is a risk for the security of our system, beyond the fact that it will not fulfill the use that we hope to give it.
These programs can also be used to steal information or infect the computer and cause certain components to malfunction. This will undoubtedly put your security and privacy at risk again by means of a simple spam email.
How to protect ourselves from spam
So what can we do to protect ourselves from spam? We have seen that we can be victims of different attacks and it is very important to maintain security. For this reason, we are going to give some essential tips on how to avoid spam and also enhance security.
Prevent our data from being leaked
The first thing we have to do to avoid receiving spam emails is to protect our personal data , such as the e-mail address, and that they are not leaked online. For example, it is a mistake to post a comment in a public forum and leave the address there for anyone to see.
This could mean that a bot registers the email address, puts us in a spam campaign and we start receiving spam. Therefore, it is essential not to expose our data more than necessary and always take care of privacy when we browse the Internet or use any service.
Of course, another thing we should not do when we receive a Spam email is download any attachments it has or click on the links. If we do, we could be entering a Phishing site or downloading a document that is actually malware.
One of the malicious objectives of Spam will be for us to interact in this way. They might just wait for us to click a link or even download a file. Therefore, avoiding this will be very important to maintain security and avoid problems.
Use a reliable email service
If we want to have a good filter to protect us from this type of email, something important is to have a reliable provider. There are many options on the Internet, but they are not all the same at all. Therefore, it is essential that we choose very well which one we are going to take. For example, Gmail and Outlook are two of the most popular and have a good anti-spam filter.
The fact of creating an email account with an unreliable provider can mean that our data is in danger and that we receive many spam emails constantly without a good filter that blocks them before reaching the inbox. .
Always protect equipment
On the other hand, it is essential to always have your computers properly protected. In case we make a mistake and inadvertently download a file that we have received in a spam email, it will be essential to have a good antivirus that eliminates malware. For example some options are Windows Defender, Avast or Bitdefender.
But beyond protecting the computers with a good antivirus, we must also update the systems . This will help us prevent possible malware from taking advantage of a vulnerability that has not been corrected. We must always have all the patches and updates available.
Ultimately, Spam is a problem that affects email. Sometimes it can even be a very significant security risk. We have seen how they can attack us and what to do to be protected at all times and not suffer any attack.