Here’s a staggering statistic: F-Secure Labs found that 80% of attachments in spam emails sent in 2016 were ransomware. That means if you clicked on any 8 of 10 of those files, your data could be held hostage by online criminals until you paid a fee that’s generally well over a hundred dollars.
The numbers for 2017 aren’t all in yet, but ransomware remains the most common attachment in spam email. With monster ransomware outbreaks threatening businesses and tens of millions likely being made from this scam across the globe, you can expect the explosive growth of this threat to continue for at least the rest of the year.
Stopping yourself from ever clicking on any attachment or any link in a spam email is a security must, but these threats persist because they only need to work less than 1 percent of the time. One bad click can end up costing you so it’s smart to take the extra step of trying to keep spam out of your inbox.
Here are a few ways to do it.
1. Keep your email address as private as humanly possible.
Avoid chain letters. Don’t post your email on your website or any website in a way that robots can read — instead break it up like *username at domain dot com*. Don’t use your email as your username for accounts. NEVER respond to a spam email. Try not to sign up for stuff online. Of course, you’re going to have to sign up for some stuff so…
2. Use disposable email addresses.
Set up a disposable webmail account — Gmail, Hotmail, etc — that you use to sign up for newsletters and other things you sign up for online from companies you don’t know and trust, which you should only do selectively. You can forward those emails to your main account. If you find you’re getting spam directed to those emails, shut them down.
3. Make sure you’re running Internet security.
No matter what you do, you’re likely to come across some spam and eventually make a bad click. This is why you need an up-to-date security program like F-Secure TOTAL, which includes F-Secure SAFE, which provides multi-level protection against ransomware.
4. Be especially careful on Tuesdays.
That’s the day most new spam runs go out. Remember that for most online criminals, this is just a job.