Email Virus Protection
Let us now check out some points that help you avoid virus infection through emails.
1. The rule of thumb is not to download any kind of email attachment if it is an executable. You can know if the file is executable if it has an extension such as exe, bat, chm, or com. Click here to know more extensions that are frequently used by malware.
2. One of the most common methods that spread virus infection is spamming. Most of the spam mails have something that attempts to trick you into clicking anywhere in the email that activates some script to give malware, an easy entry into your computer or even the highly secured servers controlling a huge network. You may think that clicking on an empty space is safe. But NO: the empty space in email body may be linked to some script. You might have experienced popup ads when you click on empty space on some music sites (eg radiostationindia.com, pz10.com, smashits.com, and many more). Though most spam is caught by the email client or even the web mail, the danger of susceptibility is still there as the algorithms of these email clients and web mails are not strong enough.
Use antispam software that blocks spam to protect the entire network or individual computers from email virus. There are plenty of antispam software in the market. For networks and server level protection, GFI MailEssentials is one of the best antispam software for servers controlling huge networks. SpamTitan also works for most networks. You can also get some free antispam software for individual computers. Using these antispam software in addition to the normal spam blocking feature of your email client and computer protection suite further helps avoid email virus.
4. If you are using an email client such as MS Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Thunderbird, or anything else, you should integrate your antivirus to the email client for real time scanning of attachments. Though most of the known antivirus software automatically integrates into email clients, you may also check out the documentation of the email client and/or antivirus for information on integrating the antivirus into the email client.
5. Sometimes, you may find email attachments with double file extensions. If the extension is not visible, follow the method briefed in the first section, under NOTE. Some examples of such attachments are abc doc.doc, file.bmp. txt, or filename doc.vhp. Such attachments are not legitimate and should be deleted as soon as you get the email.
6. You may have subscribed to several newsletters or newsgroups. Most of these newsletters are sent by third party mass mail service providers. A genuine newsletter will have its contents in the email body and not in any attachment. It may contain links to different articles and ads. If you feel anything suspicious or if you receive any other form of mass mail with an attachment, delete it straightaway.
7. Finally, use your common sense before deciding whether to open any email to avoid email virus. You receive emails from several sources. It is not necessary that if the sender is your best friend, the file attachments are safe. She/he may be unaware of the potential threats. While opening any email attachment, check out the sender, the email body, name and logo of attachments, and digital signatures (if any) before deciding whether or not to open the attachment.
The above points combined with the basic steps mentioned in the first section reduce the chances of virus infection to a great extent. While you may find it hard to implement all of the above points, pay attention to the antispam software you are using, mass mails, mails from anonymous people, and finally to the extensions of the file attachments. This will avoid email virus while also offering virus protection from any other source(s).