General

Tip to Secure Your Email

August 14, 2006

Email is still one of the main ways that computer viruses, Trojans and other malware is spread. There are several really simple things that you can do to help protect yourself and we are going to post a few tips. Of course, you should remember, these are not the only precautions you should be taking. You need a good anti-virus program, a good firewall that blocks incoming AND outgoing traffic and a good malware scanner.

Having said that, here is a quick tip: Turn off your e-mail client’s preview pane
This is the part of the display that shows a portion of the message as soon as the message is highlighted in the inbox. Yes, it is a timesaver. However, you should consider turning off this option. Here’s why: Most of the time, attackers need help from users to wreak havoc. They have to convince them, say, to go to a Web site or to open an attachment. But some malignant messages are more insidious: they only need to be viewed to do damage. With preview turned off, you have to open the message to see it, instead of it automatically displaying on your screen. It’s not a foolproof defense, but at least it gives you the chance to read the subject line and see the sender without risk.

In Outlook (most versions), select View|Reading pane|Off.

In Thunderbird, select View|Layout, and choose “Message Pane” so it’s unchecked. (You can also toggle the preview pane off and on by pressing the F8 key.)

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