A majority of messaging services actively block vast amounts of spam from ever reaching your inbox. However, 0.1% still finds a way through to your inbox. Find out how to block the sender, delete and report.

Tech tips Security Organisation

Spam … it’s a nuisance right? 

By definition, spam is any kind of unwanted, unsolicited email. The term derived from the well known Monty Python cafe sketch. Much to the annoyance of the customer Mrs Bun, she is presented with a menu whereby the canned, spiced, luncheon meat spam is incorporated into every offering. She was getting spam whether she liked it or not. Sound familiar?

A vast amount of the spam we receive consists of emails sent from companies we have had previous dealings with and have voluntarily given our details to. A lot of companies take 'legitimate interests' as a form of consent. Yes, they can read the rules that way. However, there exists a more sinister side to spam. These are messages sent from fraudulent senders with malicious intentions. 

Types of Scam Emails

  • Phishing: The sender impersonates a trusted entity in order to elicit sensitive information from you. Upon first glance the email can appear fairly legitimate. The graphics, logo, layout and domain name will closely mimic those of the person/company they are imitating. A common one is posing as a bank. The email will want you to take some sort of action by clicking a link which will send you to a bogus website. You will be asked to enter/confirm login details or credit card information, which will then be captured by the cybercriminals behind the attack.

  • Spoofing: Very similar to phishing in that the email is set up to mimic trusted providers, appearing legitimate upon first glance. Unlike phishing, these emails will contain malicious links ready to be unwittingly downloaded. These emails convince the recipient of an impending threat, which can be quashed by following the instructions provided. This will involve a link which when clicked will trigger the download of a malicious file that can damage your system and critical applications, opening up your network to risk.

  • Money Scams/Hoaxes: Most people will have heard of the Nigerian Prince scam. They write, asking for your help with a cash advance in order to unlock a greater sum of money. In return you will be granted a handsome financial reward. However, upon payment they disappear. Other examples include scammers posing as family members in need of help, seeking donations under the guise of a charitable cause or threatening your reputation in some way, scaring you to pay their fee.

  • Malspam: According to the 2019 Verizon Report 94% of malware is delivered via email. These messages include malicious links or attachments that when clicked or opened trigger the virus to download. One form of malspam is ransomware. It is in the name. The virus will encrypt your files and the sender will hold you to ransom, demanding money before they decrypt them. 

How to Unsubscribe from spam?

If it is a professional looking email from a verified company you have bought from previously or you have signed up to their newsletter in the past but you no longer want to receive their email communications, you can unsubscribe. Just scroll to the bottom of the message, click ‘Unsubscribe’ and follow the instructions.

How to block and report spam?

A majority of messaging services actively block vast amounts of spam from ever reaching your inbox. Gmail protection service said they block over 100 million phishing attempts per day which equates to 99.9% of all spam, phishing and malware emails. However, 0.1% still finds a way through to your inbox. If you receive an email that does not look professional or is unsavoury in any way then DO NOT OPEN or if you do, do not click on any attachments or links! You can block the sender, delete and report.

Blocking on Gmail

  1. Open the message.
  2. Click More at the top of your email.
  3. Click Block [sender].

Don’t worry if you block someone by mistake. You can unblock them following the same process.

Reporting on Gmail

  1. Tick the box to the left of the message or open the message

  2. Click Report Spam at the top of the page

When you click ‘Report spam’ or manually move an email into your Spam folder, Google will receive a copy of the email. They will analyse it to help protect all users from spam and abuse.

Blocking on Outlook

  1. Select any messages or senders you want to block.

  2. Press Junk > Block (or Spam > Block) which can be found on the top toolbar.

  3. Click OK. The messages or sender you selected will be deleted and all future messages will be blocked from your mailbox.

If you block someone by mistake you can unblock them.

  1. Open your Blocked senders list

  2. Select the bin icon next to their name.

But it is always good to keep your wits about you!

Reporting on Outlook

  1. Select the message or messages you want to report.

  2. Select Junk > Phishing > Report

Reporting does not prevent you from receiving any further communications. You will also need to block the sender.

Published by AppDrawn