Email & IM Dangers

IM and email security threats

If you're online at all, it's likely you use email or IM. And why not? Both are cheap, fast, simple and effective. Unfortunately, that's exactly why malware villains use them too. Instant messaging and scams like email phishing and spam have become increasingly favored channels among scammers for spreading spyware, email virus threats and other nasty programs. Recently, spyware was attached to a popular animated video passed around from friend to friend via email. The video isn't harmful - but the newly attached spyware certainly is. That's why instant messenger and email security threats should be a top priority. Here's where the IM and email danger lies:

Spyware or computer viruses are embedded in or attached to a message

  • You open the message and unknowingly download it onto your computer
  • The virus or spyware establishes itself on your computer
  • Your PC and online communications are compromised

Spam email and instant messages laced with spyware and viruses often try to mislead you into clicking on an attached file or on a link within the email, which then initiates the download. Sometimes simply opening the message starts the download process. Once downloaded, spyware and viruses quietly install themselves and start running in the background of your computer. Without your knowledge or permission, they now can:

  • Collect your personal information and steal your identity
  • Redirect your browser and keyword searches
  • Bombard you with unwanted, often illicit pop-ups
  • Add, change and delete files and programs
  • Slow your PC to a crawl or cause frequent computer crashes
How to combat IM and email dangers


Take these steps to fortify your instant messaging and email security right away:

  • Don't open email or text messages from unknown senders
  • Immediately delete message you suspect are spam
  • Avoid get rich quick offers, porn or too-good-to-be-true messages, they’re often masking email dangers
  • Do not provide personal information to any unsolicited requests for information—it could be email phishing
  • Update your operating system regularly
  • Increase your browser security settings
  • Avoid questionable Web sites
  • Only download software from sites you trust
  • Avoid free software and file-sharing applications
  • Make sure that you have the best security software products installed on your PC
  • Use antivirus protection and a firewall
  • Get antispyware software protection
Stay safe online.

An unprotected computer is like an open door for IM and email dangers, like messages infected with spyware and viruses. For more potent protection, use a spam filter or gateway to scan inbound messages. Products like Webroot® Spy Sweeper® and Webroot Internet Security Essentials thwart dangerous email virus threats and malware before they can enter your PC, stand guard at every possible entrance of your computer and fend off any spyware or viruses that try to enter, even the most damaging and devious strains. While free spam stopper downloads are available, they just can't keep up with the continuous onslaught of new spam malware strains. Previously undetected forms of malware can often do the most damage, so it's critical to have up-to-the-minute, guaranteed protection.

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