What Does This Mean to Me, Laura?


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What Does This Mean to Me, Laura?

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Listen up: you’re in charge!

7th October 2009

It’s a pain, but security is each user’s responsibility, not just the tech’s.–Bobbi Galvin, OPLIN

One of the most common misconceptions library staff typically have about their email accounts is that nobody would want to hack them.

WRONG.

Your email account is an extremely valuable commodity, especially to a spammer.  Check these stats out:

  • The average PC user receives over 2,000 and counting spammed emails per year
  • The average computer user receives about 10 spams per day
  • About 28% of people answer spam emails
  • About 90 BILLION spam mails are sent PER DAY

Spam is big business, and your email account is a potential accessory.  The problem lies in that library staff tend to think hackers want the actual emails in the account, when rather what they are likely after is the account access. Spammers want to use your account to send spam.

What does this mean to me, Laura?

A few things.  For instance, if your account is hacked, other problems can arise:

  • Your account can be blacklisted or blocked because of spamming;
  • The entire OPLIN mailserver IP can be blocked, because that’s where the spam is coming from;
  • If your email account is blocked/blacklisted, your mail doesn’t get delivered;
  • Your friends/families/coworkers/professional contacts start getting Viagra ads from your address.  Not good.

So what should I do?

  • Start by using a strong password.  Try http://www.passwordmeter.com to check if it’s strong enough.
  • Change your password often.  Yes, it’s a pain.  Do it anyway.
  • Make sure that your computer is protected.  This means making sure you take care (or your tech takes care) of doing Microsoft updates in a timely manner and keeping your anti-virus software updated.  New viruses come out every day; is your virus software checking for new virus definitions frequently?

Email security is part of network security, and everyone is responsible for the health of the network.  Time for a check up!

Learn more about the Economics of Spam