Don’t Open Attachments. Canada 150 Recommendation #15

Friday’s= Computer Security

I attend an annual conference on governance and security. I am sure that you are jealous.

One of the things that comes up each year is innocent people clicking on email attachments and infecting their computer systems. Last year’s conference made specific mention of the fact that fraudsters (this is the generic name we use for people who want to steal from you) target Atlantic Canadians. The stated reason for this is because we are so “nice.” We are more likely to open an attachment than people in other regions of the world.

I am not usually opposed to being nice but I draw the line at being gullible. Don’t click on any attachment that appears to be from a bank. The banks will tell you that they do not email you to check on your account. Do not click on an email attachment from a delivery company unless it is included in the email from the place you ordered. For example; if you have an order coming from Amazon, they will email you when the order is shipped, that email will contain a link you can use. If you get an email from FedEx or UPS directly, be suspicious about opening it. Check the tracking number back to the email from Amazon.

Another issue is attachments that appear to be from friends. Particularly friends with Hotmail accounts. If you are not expecting an attachment – use the email address you have stored for them in your address book and email to ask it they really sent you an attachment. The email that appears to come from a friend may not be from the friends email address. That is simple to check before you open the email.

Spend a little time getting an understanding of the ways you can protect yourself from malicious email.

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