Saturday, January 19, 2008

Email Forwarding - A Cautionary Tale

I have talked a lot about email security, good email practices, how to avoid spa m and phishing s cams, etc. But here is an area not often mentioned, which deserves our attention: email forwarding.

Recently a friend of mine who knows I am in the business of protecting people on the Internet, forwarded to me by email a copy of a newsletter he subscribes to. He thought I might be interested in it, as it dealt with new software, including security programs which I use and recommend.

He was right. I was so interested that I clicked the Subscribe Now link at the bottom, intending to sign up right away. But I then found myself in my friend's account! I could have changed his email address or preferences, or altered his subscriptions.

I tried closing and reopening my browser, even restarting my computer, to no avail. The simple act of visiting that web site through the link my friend had provided, caused the site to put a cookie with his account info on my hard drive. I had to delete all cookies on my PC, to solve the problem.

So please be careful when forwarding material such as newsletters. Beware of links such as Subscribe, Unsubscribe, Manage Your Account, etc. Try to avoid including them. You can copy and paste the email into a plain text file (ending in .txt), then copy and paste it back into an email. That should deactivate the links.

Of course, the simplest solution to this problem is to simply copy the actual body only of the material you want to forward, and then paste it into a new email. That would usually work nicely.

Still on the subject, email is one of the main ways viruses gain access to your computer. But most malware exploits weaknesses in Windows that were patched months ago. So if you do nothing else, make yourself a sticky note and paste it on your computer: Thou shalt update Windows monthly!

Syd Tash is a noted computer security consultant and author of How to Protect Your Computer Online - A Complete Guide. He has been keeping Internet surfers safe and secure since the last century. Find out how he does it; get all the latest security news, tips and fixes right here: =>

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Copyright © Security Expert  All rights reserved.