- Open emails only from persons you know and trust.
- In case you are still decided to open an email from an unfamiliar person/organization, check both the physical addresses and phone numbers provided to see if they are available and belong to the sources mentioned in the email.
- Open only those email attachments whose headings or texts sound familiar. Be aware that if you receive an email from a friend whose computer is virus infected, the virus spreads itself to everyone in his or her contact list.
- Check out the security (encryption) a website uses, before sending any sensitive information. To protect yourself, any personal information submitted online needs to be encrypted, so that it can be read only by the appropriate source. Many sites use SSL (secure sockets layer) to encrypt information. If the URL begins with "https:" instead of "http:" and a lock icon appears at the bottom right corner of the window, it means that your data is secure. Some sites also indicate whether the data is securely stored or not.
- If the information is encrypted in transit, but stored insecurely, an attacker who is able to break into the system could access your personal information.
- Use email encryption for particularly sensitive messages.
- Read all your email messages offline. If possible, read them in text format only.
- Delete suspicious messages.
- Use and regularly change your password for accessing you email accounts.
- Install and use firewalls to protect yourself against hackers, anti-spam and antivirus software and keep them up to date.
- Do not provide your or someone else's email address online.
- Do not trust a site just because it claims to be secure.
- Do not believe websites that tell you that your financial or other personally sensitive information doesn't have to be encrypted.
- Do not open attachments to emails from unfamiliar sources. They may be virus infected and damage your computer programs or files. It also could expose sensitive information stored in files on your computer, such as financial accounts, etc. If the message seems to come from someone you know, but the heading sounds strange, check with the person/organization who send it before opening the attachment.
- Do not open emails with an attachment that has no text messaging explaining what the attachment is about.
- Do not open duplicate emails from the same person. One of the emails may be a regular one, with text, while the other one may have no text.
- Do not open email attachments containing the following file extensions: .exe, .bat, .reg, .scr, .dll, or .pif.
Watch out of addresses including double extensions. For instance, in the following URL : "mypicture.jpg.scr", even if the "jpg" extension may suggest you are dealing with a safe source, it is the last extension that really matters.
- Do not open email attachment with two file extensions, for instance: resume.doc.pif or Love-letter-for-you.txt.vbs.
- Do not open emails apparently received by mistake, that are addressed to other persons than you.
- Do not open multiple identical messages from the same source that arrive in your inbox within a few seconds.
- Do not respond to emails that request for your personal or financial information.
- Do not reveal your credit card number or other sensitive information by email, since it is not usually secure.
- Do not provide personal information, unless you are certain of a person's/organization's authority to ask for it
- Do not send sensitive information over the Internet before checking the website security.
- Do not click on a link included in a suspicious email.
- Do not send email attachments you have received or programs downloaded from the Internet unless you are sure they are virus-free.
- Do not trust emails whose headings hint at sharing confidential information about banks or stock exchange.
- Do not trust emails that promise great amounts of money or more than reasonable offers. Nothing is for free and if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.