How to spot a Computer Virus in your Email Inbox and what to do

Nearly everyone with a working computer and an internet connection has some means of sending and receiving emails. However, a small group of individuals use it for unintended purposes such as sending viruses and basically causing havoc amongst people and their businesses.

 

We’ve recently come across customers working on both Apple and Windows who have received emails from people claiming to be people they know requesting personal information, or sending through an attached document like a pdf that once opened, would automatically download a virus and install itself somewhere on their system. The impact of this could result in the virus deleting emails, causing difficulty in receiving new emails and even sending out emails from their email address with the same link spreading the virus further on. One of the examples we have recently seen is a purchase order linked to a dropbox account attached to an email.

There’s not much about this in the press right now, but we would assume the person who made it has been working on this for a couple of years and recently sent it out on mass. When you open the email, it gets you to sign in which will instantly feedback passwords. It’s classed as a phishing email – the deadliest of its kind, having the potential to steal data, meaning it can get into shared company drives like your Dropbox, Shared Files / information and anything with a password that you have entered with the virus active. This is called a keylogger and is incredibly well made and difficult to detect because it doesn’t tend to show itself.

Here at Boosh we realise that said Viruses can be hugely damaging to you and your business and we think its important to show you how to identify a computer virus in your inbox and what you can do about it.

 

  1. Look closely at subject lines

For those of you who don’t know, a subject line is a summary of an email. If the wording here looks a little odd, its more than likely to be dodgy. Do also check the email address it comes from even if you recognise the name of the person on first view when the email comes through. Sometimes an email can appear to be from somebody you know, but once opened can actually be from a hacker.

 

  1. Watch attached files

The majority of the time a file that is a virus has an .exe or .vbs file extension. (A file extension is a type of file.) Most hackers name a file followed by a file extension, followed by another file extension (blank.jpg.vbs) for example.

 

  1. Check the sender

If the sender is someone you don’t know or a company you’re not familiar with, the email more than likely contains a virus.

 

  1. Read the message

Even though it could be sent from someone you know, the message may leave you clueless about why it has been sent. (For example, the “here you have” email virus simply say’s “This is the Document I told you about you can find it here” followed by the virus download link. Upon reading, it will send itself to everyone in your address book with the victim as the sender) This is an obvious indication that the email contains a virus.

  1. Know that email viruses may pretend to be sent from an existing company

It’s really important to read each email thoroughly. An email may appear to be sent from a legitimate company, when really, it’s been sent from a hacker. (This is called a forging email) A key tip, is that it may contain several spelling / punctuation errors) Another indicator that the email contains a virus.

 

  1. Do not follow links unless necessary

Sometimes a virus is located on a website, rather than attached to an email. The hacker would require the victim to follow the link to a website in order for the virus to be downloaded. If not contacted/assured prior to receiving the email that the link is safe, DO NOT FOLLOW IT. If the worst should happen and you do open a link, change all passwords immediately. Make sure any passwords are strong and secure and do not have the same password for all your logins.

 

As a summary, here at Boosh, we’d advise you to never give out your email address to anyone you don’t trust, this will ensure spam and infected emails will stay at a minimum. If you are constantly receiving spam, you can download an anti-spam program or it may seem drastic but you could create a new email account to start afresh. It’s a good idea to have good anti-virus protection, on the off chance that you accidentally download a virus, it would automatically stop and delete it from your computer before it causes damage.