It’s estimated that as much as 60% of all email sent is spam. This means that more than half of all email correspondence sent is either a nuisance, or a threat. Thanks to email spam filters, very few of these emails ever find their way into our inboxes. Most email servers have basic filtering, designed to catch messages that are blatantly spam. Email software clients like Outlook will have basic filtering built in.
But filters alone can’t protect you from malicious email content.
Once you’ve opened these attachments, your system becomes infected with whatever virus was hiding inside of it.
Email filtering falls into three basic categories; Definite Threats, Possible Threats, and No Threat. Definite Threats include phishing attempts, emails with viruses attached, or emails containing links to known bad websites. These are the blatant spam messages, and as long as your virus definition database is up to date, these emails will simply be deleted and never reach you at all.
Possible Threats are emails that may or may not be dangerous. These are the messages that get kicked to a spam or junk folder for the recipient to review on a case by case basis. Depending on your email provider, you might instead receive an email with a list of suspected spam messages that you can choose to either ignore, or receive.
No Threat emails are delivered directly to your inbox. However, this does not guarantee that they are safe. It only means that they were able to pass inspection by your filters. Depending on whether or not you have filters in place, and if so, how effective they are, some of these emails could still contain harmful content. It’s important to always use caution when checking your inbox, and especially before clicking on any attachments or embedded links.
When it comes to sending secure email, encryption is an important tool. Email encryption is a program or service that takes the content of a message and encrypts it before sending, rendering the contents unreadable to anyone but the intended recipient. When the message is received, the recipient either has to login to a secure location to read it, or use the corresponding program to decrypt the message.