For many of us, email keeps us tethered to the outside world. But in the Gmail era, users may not give much thought to security threats that email might pose.
Whether you use a browser-based option like Gmail or a desktop-based email client like Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, here are a few tools you should include to secure your system.
An Antivirus with Built-In Email Scanning
Many of us still use desktop-based clients, so it’s vital that you scan attachments for viruses and malware.
To do so, use an antivirus or internet security tool that offers email security or attachment scanning. Although Windows’ built-in virus scanning engine can save attachments to a folder and then it scan there, a dedicated third-party tool is more secure and is also likely to take advantage of more frequently updated definition databases that hone in on email attachment threats.
Some of my top recommendations include:
Norton: Email Antivirus Scan creates a gateway between incoming (usually IMAP) and outgoing (SMTP) mail servers. This prevents malicious items from downloading as they can be scanned before they install. Norton also offers an AntiSpam tool which integrates with Windows Mail and Microsoft Outlook. POP3 scanning is still supported, so this is a good option for email clients using legacy mail servers.
Bitdefender: Bitdefender places a strong emphasis on email security. It offers consumer products such as its Antispam filter as well as server-side tools like Bdconsole for the enterprise mail server. Emails are also scanned as part of Bitdefender’s real-time protection scanning mode, which blocks viruses based on suspicious patterns of behavior.
Comodo: If you need to scan emails on your Ubuntu machine, then Comodo may be your best option. Email scanning is included on its basic and premium versions, and the Antispam Gateway strengthens email defenses based on continuously updated cloud security definitions.
Phishing and Internet Security Protection
Phishing and internet security protection are vital for all webmail and desktop email users. Webmail services such as Gmail are usually considered more secure than their desktop counterparts, but just because they’re not completely secure.
Email is still a common tactic for cybercrooks. Threats can come in the form of:
- Phishing emails that pretend to be from a recognized company but take you to a duplicate version of the real login page to steal your username and password. These will then attempt to capture your login credentials and could be used to steal your online assets.
- Viruses, malware, and trojans that have gotten past the webmail providers’ detection engines.
- Keyloggers that capture your webmail login information for cybercriminals. Webmail generally works from within the browser, so unsafe third-party add-ons and extensions can get around the safeguards to pass on this information.
What you can use to prevent phishing attempts:
- AVG: AVG Internet Security integrates directly with the browser to provide continuous protection against phishing and other threats. Real-time link and download scanning mean your email is secured, and the Enhanced Firewall protects all incoming and outbound connections.
- Malwarebytes: With real-time protection, three scan types, and direct integration with Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox (without the need to install an add-on or extension), Malwarebytes is another great choice. The Premium upgrade protects against ransomware and provides instant notification prompts to guide users on what to do if a threat is detected.
Get the Protection You Need
Email is a lucrative form of attack since it contains a lot of information about users’ personal and professional lives. Whether you’re a webmail or desktop user, it’s important to run reliable attachment scanning and anti-phishing protection to make sure you’re protected.