What is Email Virus and How to Avoid Them?
In general, a computer virus or worm is a self-replicating program capable of being spread by emails or by inserting copies of itself into other documents or programs. Viruses that spread via email are capable of knocking out systems burdened by the huge amounts of generated emails, thus causing severe headaches for individual users.
An email virus contains malicious code that is distributed in email messages. This code can be activated when a user clicks on a link in an email message, interacts with the infected email message or just opens an email attachment.
Types of Email Viruses
Email viruses are available in a wide range of forms, and malicious actors work nonstop to enhance their malicious email messages and methods for email hacking, as well as the accompanying malware.
- Macro viruses:These viruses are written in a macro language used by other software programs, particularly Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word macros. Macro malware is spread via phishing email messages containing malicious attachments, which comprise of the malicious macros.
- Spambot programs:These programs have been designed for harvesting email addresses in order to build mailing lists for sending spam. While spambot programs are not generally distributed via email, they are however instrumental in collecting valid email addresses to be used for the circulation of email viruses.
- Email spam:Also known as unsolicited or unwanted email, email spam mostly spreads malware via links in the message that lead to phishing websites or other sites hosting malware.
- Virus hoax email messages:These emails contain a false warning about a nonexistent threat and are considered to be a form of socially engineered email virus or worm. These messages could also instruct the recipient to take some action, which also includes forwarding the warning to all their contacts. One variant of the virus hoax email is known to build on the tech support phone scam, in which a malicious actor tries to engage the victim to defraud the victim.
How to Avoid Email Viruses
Given below are a few simple rules that can avoid being infected by viruses via email.
- Use a dedicated email service with strong virus filtering.
- Disable message preview in your email client, particularly on Windows platforms. Failing to do this will allow malicious programs attached to incoming messages to get executed automatically and infect your computer.
- Refrain from downloading all your emails to an email client unseen. Screen your email first and then delete unwanted and suspicious messages before downloading the genuine emails to your local email client.
- Maintain a number of independent email accounts. If a virus infects the only business email address you have then you will be in trouble. It is also recommended for you to maintain backups of your most important files and emails separately.
- Ignore or delete messages with attachments that appear to be sent from your email service.
- Take caution when opening media attachments and graphics, as it is possible for viruses to be disguised as such files.
- Always ensure to regularly update your antivirus software. Automatic updates are vital for effective virus protection. If you don’t have a good antivirus software capable of executing updates automatically and regularly, then go in for Comodo Free Antivirus.