Rule One: Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders.
Don’t open attachments from friends unless accompanied by an explanatory cover note. If something turns up from your good friend Suzy Q which has an attachment and nothing or very little else – ie, Thought you’d like this – Don’t open it. Email back (ensuring that it’s the same address for Suzy Q that you usually use) and ask about it.
Ensure you have current anti-virus software installed (like Microsoft Essentials, AVG or Avast), and preferably have anti-spam software (like Mailwasher) which will stop most virus attachments before they can get to your computer.
A client had a suspected virus attack after opening an attachment. His Thunderbird folders vanished.
I outlined the following steps:
1) Run Malwarebytes
Run fast mode first, then run full mode if nothing
2) Search on Thunderbird lost directory, lost folders, etc for solution
to missing emails.
3) Install an antivirus program. I recommended Avast
4) Install Mailwasher
This will query your emails on the server and allow you to preview them and filter them before they ever get to your machine. I’ve been using it for at least a decade – brilliant!
This one is the freebie – only good for one account:
If you’re running more than one mailbox you’ll probably want the pro version, which runs on most Windows platforms. I use version 6, as I had problems a the later version.
5) Backup Routine
Offsite backup. Highly recommended.
A Useful Spam Tracking Trick
Start using e-mail addresses that are specially — and easily — coded. Create a new one for everything you sign up for, things like newsletters, banking, coupon sites — whatever. If you receive an e-mail from that address with anything other than what you asked for, you’ll know the company’s been breached — or is selling your e-mail address to spammers.
The technique is called plus addressing and the trick is to create an e-mail with an extra character between the real e-mail address and the @ sign and domain. Don’t fret, it’s easy to understand.
Many ISPs let you do plus addressing, but I’ll use Gmail to describe how it works.
Let’s say your Gmail address is email@example.com (and for the reasons I’ll explain in a minute, you ought to use Gmail). When you sign up for a newsletter, say, SuperUser, use firstname.lastname@example.org. Banking with Chase? email@example.com. Got the idea?
Use a throwaway e-mail to track spammers
Gmail understands what you’re doing and the e-mail still lands in your inbox.
However, if you get something other than the newsletter at that address, you can stop it in its tracks. Just create a filter in Gmail (yep, I’ll get to that, too) that automatically deletes anything from firstname.lastname@example.org and you’ll never see it again.
Of course, once you filter that specific address into the trash, you won’t see either the spam or the newsletter. If you still want the newsletter delivered, create a new plus address and resubscribe.
Besides Gmail, I’ve tested plus addressing with EarthLink and Yahoo (they use a hyphen — email@example.com instead of the plus sign). Neither MSN nor AOL is smart enough to use it; experiment with your ISP to see if it works.
This article borrowed from the Steve Bass newsletter.