Education is an integral part of security. Educating your employees can be an effective defence against attacks; it can also help save money in some cases. Part of your bandwidth costs is consumed by spam and as such educating employees on how to protect their email address can result in less spam which when multiplied by the number of employees can in turn result in a cost saving measure.

Below are 10 tips on how one can protect his email address to minimise the risk of getting spammed. Conveying these tips to all the users in your organization could help reduce the volume of spam received.

  1. Spammers in most cases need to know your email address before they can spam you so keep your email address to yourself as much as possible and use it only for work purposes.
  2. When posting on a forum do not include your email address as part of your signature.
  3. Guest books are a prime source for the harvesting of email addresses that spammers use. Some guest books automatically hyperlink your email to your username; avoid posting in such forums and never include your email address in the post itself. Do not use your work email for this kind of personal use. If you do not have an alternative email address consider using free services such as Google mail, Yahoo! mail or Hotmail.
  4. When signing up for forums, offers and other public services never use your work email address; if it doesn’t break the terms of use, consider using disposable email addresses. If terms prohibit the use of disposable email, use free email services that include spam filtering.
  5. Never click on links in a spam email; in some cases clicking will result in you confirming to the spammer that the email address is valid and the user is likely to click on links thus making you a prime target for more spam and phishing attacks.
  6. Always review the privacy terms on sites before registering. You need to know that whoever you’re signing up with will not give away your email address to third parties who might actually end up selling your email address for money.
  7. If you use IRC and chatrooms ensure that you’re not displaying your email address publicly (some IRC clients do this by default).
  8. If you have a personal website, do not publish your work or personal email on it. Spammers use scanners that harvest such emails as well. Use free email services for this purpose.
  9. Do not use the unsubscribe links in spam emails, in some case that will actually confirm the email address is valid to the spammer.
  10. Do not open attachments in spam, you could get infected with Trojans that will send your email contacts to a spammer as well as entrap you in a spammer distribution chain i.e. your computer might be the one that the spammer uses to send spam emails.