Antivirus maker Symantec’s Intelligence Report for June shows a marked drop in spam received by business email users worldwide. Their metrics show businesses received a little less than half the spam they usually receive over a month. Perhaps the spammers are taking vacation days as well?
Of course, this doesn’t mean users can take time off from being careful with their email. While email-based malicious software and phishing scams are down, there were still over 57.6 million new malware variants created in June, a significant rise from April and May. So, although you may be getting fewer bad emails, those emails are more likely to have a new virus that will try to get around your computer’s security software. We’re also seeing an increase in the number of ransomware attacks last month. Ransomware is malicious software that will attack your system, encrypt your important data and documents, and then ask you to pay a ransom to get the decryption tool to get your data back. It’s nasty and it’s on the rise.
Here are tips for keeping your data safe:
- Use proactive software protection.
- Anti-malware software is a basic requirement for initial protection on all computers.
- Make sure you are backing up your data on a regular basis.
- Viruses and spyware can creep into your computer and easily degrade performance and corrupt or even destroy data.
- Use a firewall. A firewall places either software or hardware between your computer and the wider Internet. Your home wireless router will have firewall software in place to protect your computer from a random stranger connecting directly to it. Make sure your router’s security settings are setup correctly.
- Be cautious of suspicious emails from unknown sources. Don’t open emails with attachments if you don’t know the sender. Even when you know the sender, be wary if you didn’t expect the attachment.
- Steer clear of websites of ill repute. These are havens for malicious and annoying intruders like spyware. Remember, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”.
- Keep your operating system updated. Repair the security holes that hackers love to exploit with the newest critical updates from Microsoft or Apple. For Windows 7 and 8.1 users, keep in mind that Windows 10 will be launching towards the end of this month.
So remember, one of the reasons spam works to spread viruses and spyware is that it looks so innocent. To avoid the hassles that come with an infected machine, treat every email with care and always be suspicious of messages from senders you do not recognize.