Many of us have a love-hate relationship with email: It's a great way to communicate, but it's also a favorite way for hackers to send digital threats to innocent computer-users. Although "spam mail" is a very familiar term among computer users by now, there are actually many types of threats which fall under that umbrella.
Different Types of Spam Mail
Spam mail or junk mail has been a major hassle for Internet users since the invention of email, because it's a cheap way for scammers to make a quick buck. The most common scams involved with junk emails include phishing, pump-and-dump schemes, offshore pharmaceutical advertisements and emails with malware attached.
Phishing is one of the worst email scams. In this type of attack, thieves create fake websites to emulate banks and other major companies. After sending out fake alerts to users saying their accounts are in jeopardy, victims are instructed to click a link in the email, which takes them to a fake website. From there, the user is asked to type login and password information — which delivers sensitive data right to the hands of these con artists.
Pump-and-dump schemes are simply email notices sent out telling victims that they should invest in a stock because it is "about to skyrocket" in value. On the other hand, pharmaceutical ads are commonly sent out promoting cheap Viagra and other major pharmaceuticals from pharmacies overseas. It's illegal to buy drugs from overseas, anyway, but most of these medicines aren't genuine in the first place.
As a rule of thumb, you never should purchase anything advertised through spam mail because, aside from the fact the product probably is not legitimate, your purchase only helps criminals to send out more spam. Some criminals even keep lists of victims who fall for their tricks, and then sell those lists to other criminals who bombard the victim with more scams.
The Importance of Firewalls
For many of these threats, knowledge is half the battle: If you know unsolicited advertisements or emails are suspicious, you know to avoid them. But to help weed out problematic emails, security software is a major addition.
Although many computer users are familiar with the importance of anti-spam and anti-malware software for their devices, firewalls are another critical component to keeping hackers from getting into your computer. This especially applies to anyone who uses public Wi-Fi hotspots, because those typically provide little security for users. In a nutshell, firewalls work to block hackers by sealing off entry points commonly used by attackers. Additionally, many firewalls provide outbound traffic control which allows you to prevent any malware on your computer from contacting malicious third parties.
The Importance of Internet Security Software
While the field of Internet security is vast, that doesn't mean that you need to download a hodgepodge of tools to protect yourself from various infections. In fact, when it comes to Internet security software, any overlap between software suites can cause serious conflicts and issues on your computer.
But by using a solid security suite, you can protect yourself from most Internet threats. While there are many suites on the market, by using a free Internet security software trial you can test different solutions until you find the best package for your needs.
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