Safe Email Practices-part two
by Ken May-Swift Chip
3. Handle Attachments Safely.
Don’t open attachments unless you are absolutely sure about what they are and who they came from.
Even attachments that were sent directly to you by a known sender might contain malicious code.
Be especially careful with MS Word & Excel files.
When opening Microsoft Word or Excel attachments containing macros, always select the “Disable Macros” option if you are not sure if there should be a macro.
Beware of Dangerous File Types!
Some file types have been deemed unsafe by Microsoft. Most of these file types are executable or exploitable and are considered unsafe to send and receive as email attachments. SSU’s email servers scan all incoming email messages for attachments using these unsafe file types. If you also use an off-campus email address, you should be aware of these unsafe file types. Never open zip files, exe files or one of these unsafe file types sent in email. While many of these file types can only harm computers running Windows, some file types are potentially hazardous on Macintosh computers.
Windows Users – Make Extensions Visible
Some malicious attachments will “pose” as a harmless file type like digital image by including that file type extension in its name. You might get an attachment called “hawaii.jpg” and think it’s a picture from your friend’s vacation. But it might actually be a .pif file, one of the exploitable file types. This can happen because Windows does not display file extensions by default, so a .pif file named “hawaii.jpg.pif” will appear as “hawaii.jpg”
4. Don’t Unsubscribe.
Spammers often include an “unsubscribe from this list” link in their messages. This makes them appear more responsible and reputable, but they often use this as a way to confirm your email address so they can send you more spam or sell your email address to other spammers. If you don’t want it, mark it as junk and delete it.
5. Be a Good Internet Citizen.
Don’t use your email in ways that will contribute to the problem.
Don’t send unsolicited email and attachments.
Don’t forward chain letters.
Don’t respond to or participate in email hoaxes.
Don’t send attachments which use the “unsafe” file types.
Don’t post your email address (or other people’s addresses) on publicly accessible web pages.
Use a “disposable” email account (a free account from Yahoo or Hotmail) for online shopping and posting to online discussion boards.