This tip is by Kim Osmena

Email is one of the most used forms of communication in an organization. Users can easily send and receive communication via email. However, an email attachment that contains malware is spread just as easily.

Common file types such as .txt, .pdf, .doc/docx, .xls/xlsx, .ppt/pptx, .jpg, .zip could easily be infected by malware. These file types are commonly used in an organization, making them ideal for hiding macros/worms/malware etc. One click of the file could easily infect every computer on your network. Always be cautious when opening an attachment through email.

How to protect yourself

There are many ways to protect yourself from malicious email attachments, but the 3 main rules which would make you safer in your daily email communications are:

1. Antivirus Programs

Antivirus programs recognize some viruses and malware and will help you detect suspicious attachments. However, many malware can bypass antivirus programs, especially when the viruses or trojans are new and unknown to those programs. It is important to keep your antivirus program updated regularly.

2. Verify the Sender

Always check the “From” when you receive an email with an attachment to verify the sender. It would also be better to call the sender to verify the email with an attachment. Some hackers are capable of mimicking email addresses that would make the email item look legit.

3. Knowledge

It is helpful to understand how to deal with these types of files and their extensions. When receiving an email with an attachment, be aware that it could contain malware, and you will need to confirm if it is safe to open the attachment.

Overall, be cautious when dealing with email attachments. A single mistake could cause serious damage to your network.