Tip of the month by Chris Cochrane
Practising safe sex?

You wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute would you?  So why would you take enormous risks with email and the internet by doing things like not having virus protection or by opening unsafe attachments?

It’s hard to imagine how we could work today without email and/or the internet.  Almost without thinking we say “email us the artwork” or “I’ll email you a proof later today”.  Yet the internet probably represents the biggest danger to your computer’s health ever.  There are three possible forms of attack your computer system might suffer while connected to the internet.  One is a frontal attack where the attacking computer tries to directly access your computer resources for its own needs, the second is through a virus (or Trojan) that arrives in an attachment to an email or perhaps is accidentally acquired through accessing a web site, and the third is spam.

I’ll return to frontal attacks and viruses in the next months but today it’s spam or UCE (unsolicited commercial email), yes of course it has a TLA – this is computer stuff.

You may wonder how a little bit of spam can hurt and the answer is, it probably won’t, provided it is a little bit.  But recent statistics have shown numbers as high as 65 % of all email is spam, up from 50% a year ago.  The cost to you of transporting, storing (even temporarily) and deleting or other wise dealing with this mail will run to dozens, if not hundreds, of hours per year – and all these hours cost.

Some suggested “do’s and dont's” of email to avoid spam.

Never respond to a spam e-mail. Responding proved your email address exists and you have read at least part of the email. This will encourage more spam.

Never respond to the spam e-mail's instructions to reply with the word "remove" or “unsubscribe” nor any other option / promise to remove you from their email list. The same answer as above. Quite likely the remove option is  a trick to get you to react to the e-mail. Your email exists so you will probably get more spam.

Be careful signing up with sites that promise to remove your name from spam lists. These sites are either sincere, in which case they may be ignored by spammers, or they are questionable, in which case they obtained your valuable email address for more spam.

Never purchase products advertised by spammers. Remember, the only reason you receive spam is that the spammer profits when someone purchases their products. No sales equals no profit and an eventual death to spam, well at least a reduction.

Finally as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus from Hill Street Blues would say "And, hey - let's be careful out there."

If you want to comment or suggest a topic for ‘tip of the month’, contact Chris on email cc@printcost.com


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