If you were to ask, “Did you know that you can get a virus from an email?” most people would say, “Yes”. But why do cyber criminals use this method for distributing their malware? The answer is simple – it is still very effective.

Malware began being distributed via email virtually as soon as email was born. Email is a very simple method which allows hackers to hit many targets at once. They might send out 1 Million emails, and even if only 100 people get infected, it’s still a good Return on Investment (ROI). Email, as a tool to communicate, is not about to go away, therefore criminals will continue to use malware attachments to claim victims.

In February 2015, The Radicati Group estimated that the number of emails sent per day in 2015 would be around 205 billion. 205 billion email messages per day equates to almost 2.4 million emails being sent every second and some 74 trillion emails being sent per year. According to their statistics, around 90% of these millions and trillions of messages are spam and viruses.

So, how can you avoid becoming a victim of email malware?

This article is the first in a three-part series, which will provide you with the knowledge of how to protect yourself from Malware email attachments and in turn, outsmart the hackers.

Avoiding Malware in email

  • Use Anti-Virus Software
    • Use a reputable program, such as AVG or Kaspersky and update it daily. The worst thing you could do is have an anti-virus program that is out-of-date: it is actually worse than not having one at all.
  • Assess the Sender
    • The Sender of an email can be spoofed. Don’t rely on its accuracy.
  • Analyse the email content
    • Who is the email from and were you expecting it?
  • Analyse the attachment
    • Never open an attachment directly from the email. Always save it to an easily accessible folder (like your desktop), and scan it with your anti-virus program, before opening it.
  • Always be cautious
    • It’s better to be safe than sorry. If it feels like a scam, it probably is.

Stay tuned for our next two articles, which will provide further detail on each of the above points.