Join Lisa Bock for an in-depth discussion in this video Protecting the email client, part of IT Security Foundations: Operating System Security.
[Voiceover] - As an email client, you may be a victim of what's considered malicious activity. There's various types of malicious activity that's introduced via email, including, spam, spoofing, phishing, pharming, or viruses. Let's talk about each one of these. Spam is a broad term for unwanted, abusive email. Spam is flooding an email system with multiple messages that are unwanted.
The senders is usually anonymous, and within that spam you see advertising, get rick quick schemes, et cetera. Spam filters of today catch most of the spam sent, but some might slip through. Now spoofing is one of the techniques used when sending spam. Spoofing is impersonating a real entity. When spoofing, they're trying to get the recipient to respond in some way. Now when we look at an email, the From: field appears legitimate, but it generally isn't.
Phishing, now, is a technique where someone who is spoofing their identity casts a wide net to many recipients. We see phishing spelled with a PH instead of an F. The recipient is generally sent to a bogus website, where they might be asked to purchase something or even if they click, they might get a driveby download of a virus. When I send a phishing message out there, I've cast a wide net. I'm sending it to many, many recipients with hopes someone will respond.
For example, we see this email saying "Dear Ebay Member, Your account has been marked inactive. You must go in and update your account before July 5th. Please visit the following page. Consequences if you do not update your account: Members will lose their status. We reserve the right to cancel membership if no action is taken by the deadline." Now if I'm an Ebay power user, I don't want them to cancel my membership, so I might click on that link, but let's take a look.
I'll place my cursor on the link, as you can see it's not going to my Ebay account, it's going to another website. So this is where they would get someone to click on a link, and send them to somewhere else. Now we see phishing sends a wide net to a wide range of recipients, spear phishing though, is a little more targeted. Speak phishing casts a more targeted email message, and is generally more effective. Speak phishing has occurred because the sender has somehow obtained a mailing list for a group or an organization, and tailors the message for them.
Pharming is related to phishing, however malicious code is used. Pharming redirects users to bogus websites. It uses a technique called DNS cache poisoning. Viruses are malicious code. Viruses can simply be an annoyance, or can cause major damage to a system. Viruses need a transport agent such as an email to go from point A to point B. However, worms can propegate on their own, just as a comparison.
What should you do to defend yourself? As an email client, you should use caution when opening emails. Check before you click, and if you're really not sure, simply delete. You should use an anti-virus, but also keep those virus definitions updated using real-time protection. I'm at this website, Microsoft.com Microsoft Essentials. Now here is a solution that you can get in case you have an older operating system.
Understand that Windows Defender is built into the new Windows and helps guard against PC viruses and other malware. However, if you have an older version of Windows, you can download and use Microsoft Security Essentials, and it will help to protect your system.
Note: This training maps to a number of the exam topics on the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Security Fundamentals exam (98-367). See https://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-98-367.aspx for more information.
- Creating strong passwords
- Understanding biometric security
- Adjusting permission behavior
- Enabling auditing
- OS hardening
- Using the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer
- Protecting email