Happy Holidays? Good news? Happy Birthday? Get-Well-Soon? Maybe, but e-greeting cards, e-gift cards, and online holiday messages are increasingly being used by scammers and cybercriminals to spread viruses and other vicious malware.
Tips to avoid getting caught:
- Don’t click on links in emails announcing an e-Card or on e-Card attachments. If it’s a legitimate e-Card, the sender may be disappointed that you didn’t get it, but weigh that against the risk of your computer getting infected if you do click.
- Don’t reply to emails or pop-up messages offering quick fixes for viruses. Legitimate computer security companies don’t sell their products by spam email or by using pop-ups.
- Don’t cut and paste the link from the message into your Internet browser. Phishers can make links look like they go to one place, but that actually send you to a different site.
- Do delete random emails that ask you to confirm or divulge personal information.
- Do use antivirus and anti-spyware software and update them regularly. Some scam emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Look for anti-virus software that recognizes current viruses as well as older ones, that can effectively reverse the damage if your computer does get infected, and that updates itself automatically.
Courtesy of: Wyman, Bill, Alan Reichert, Walt Scrivens, Barbara Rietveld, and Allan Paller. "SANS: Ouch! Newsletter." SANS: Computer Security Training, Network Security Research, InfoSec Resources. SANS Institute, 09 Apr. 2009. Web. 18 Nov. 2010.