Why is spam email so dangerous?

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How dangerous can spam emails really be? Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, explains that without good anti-spam software you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to insidious emails.

If you have an email account you have almost certainly encountered spam. Some can be fairly innocuous adverts or offers but others hide much more sinister motives.

The level of sophistication also varies wildly from virtually blank emails, perhaps containing only a link or attachment, to highly authentic looking emails apparently from a recognised brand.

Spam can pray on your curiosity by offering an exciting deal, your fear by threatening you with a missed payment or even a missed court date, or perhaps just by lining up with a real-life event, like an online order you placed or website you visited.

A common form of spam that most will encounter is the ‘phishing’ email, or even the highly targeted ‘spear-phishing’ email. Which as Mark explains “only have one job: they need to trick you into following the link or giving away your private data.

“Some are easy to spot but more and more are getting increasingly hard to differentiate from the real thing. Whilst you are not ever going to be 100% safe from these attacks, using a good internet security product can take away a lot of that hassle and only leave you a few to deal with.”

All of this is being done on a massive scale. It could be hundreds of thousands or even multiple millions of email addresses being blasted with the same or similar emails.

For example if a spammer sends 1,000,000 spam emails but only 0.1% of them are ‘successful’, that’s still 1,000 infected accounts or computers. If just one of those accounts is on an office or small home network the results could be incredibly damaging and costly.

As Mark puts it: “with so many email born threats trying to cripple your business or home network it’s getting harder and harder to rely on your own discretion.”

Human error will always be a problem but you can minimise it by “using good spam and email protection you can take away a lot of that risk by automating the process.”

“By stopping the threat before it ends up on the devices you are allowing yourself to get on with your important daily tasks trusting ESET to deal with the day-to-day protection of your PC, your home network, or even your company.”

With spam and phishing emails it’s crucial to err on the side of caution: if you don’t know the sender, weren’t expecting an email from that sender, or have any other reason to be suspicious, don’t click any links or attachments.

A few minutes spent confirming the email is authentic with the sender or service is infinitely better than risking infection.

ESET Smart Security has an advanced Antispam and Anti-Phishing feature as well as a personal firewall, anti- theft suite, Banking & Payment Protection and many other key security features.

How many spam emails do you think you receive per day?

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